Development. 2004 Mar;131(6):1211-20. Epub 2004 Feb 11
Billon N, Terrinoni A, Jolicoeur C, McCarthy A, Richardson WD, Melino G, Raff M.
MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology and Cell Biology Unit, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Oligodendrocytes make myelin in the vertebrate central nervous system (CNS).
They develop from oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), most of which divide a limited number of times before they stop and differentiate.
OPCs can be purified from the developing rat optic nerve and stimulated to proliferate in serum-free culture by PDGF.
They can be induced to differentiate in vitro by either thyroid hormone (TH) or PDGF withdrawal.
It was shown previously that a dominant-negative form of p53 could inhibit OPC differentiation induced by TH but not by PDGF withdrawal, suggesting that the p53 family of proteins might play a part in TH-induced differentiation.
As the dominant-negative p53 used inhibited all three known p53 family members - p53, p63 and p73 - it was uncertain which family members are important for this process.
Here, we provide evidence that both p53 and p73, but not p63, are involved in TH-induced OPC differentiation and that p73 also plays a crucial part in PDGF-withdrawal-induced differentiation.
This is the first evidence for a role of p73 in the differentiation of a normal mammalian cell.