On Wednesday 6 April, Dr Ben Emery, of the Centre for Neuroscience and Howard Florey Institute at the University of Melbourne, will speak on the subject of 'transcriptional control of CNS myelination'.

Myelination of the nervous system is a critically important process in vertebrates, allowing for the rapid conduction of nerve impulses and providing trophic support for axons. Within the central nervous system, myelin is produced by oligodendrocytes. The specification and initial differentiation of oligodendrocytes is under tight regulation by a large number of transcription factors including Nkx, Sox and Olig family members. Until recently, however, less was known about the transcriptional control of the later myelination phase. We have identified a novel transcriptional regulator, Myelin-gene Regulatory Factor (MRF), which is expressed within the CNS specifically by postmitotic oligodendrocytes. MRF is vital for CNS myelination; conditional knockout mice lacking MRF have normal numbers of oligodendrocyte progenitors but display severe deficits in myelin gene expression and fail to myelinate. Moreover, inducible ablation of MRF within mature oligodendrocytes in the adult CNS results in a severe demyelination, demonstrating an ongoing requirement for MRF in the maintenance of myelin integrity. We are currently investigating the molecular interactions between MRF and other known transcription factors and whether modulation of MRF expression is a viable therapeutic strategy to promote repair in demyelinating diseases.


Date: Wednesday 6 April 2011

Time: 12-1pm

Place: Level 7 Auditorium, QBI Building (#79), St Lucia Campus

For a list of upcoming seminars at QBI, go to www.qbi.uq.edu.au/neuroscience-seminars.