Analysis of myelinated axon formation in zebrafish

M. D'Rozario, K. R. Monk, S. C. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Myelin is a lipid-rich sheath formed by the spiral wrapping of specialized glial cells around axon segments. Myelinating glia allow for rapid transmission of nerve impulses and metabolic support of axons, and the absence of or disruption to myelin results in debilitating motor, cognitive, and emotional deficits in humans. Because myelin is a jawed vertebrate innovation, zebrafish are one of the simplest vertebrate model systems to study the genetics and development of myelinating glia. The morphogenetic cellular movements and genetic program that drive myelination are conserved between zebrafish and mammals, and myelin develops rapidly in zebrafish larvae, within 3–5 days postfertilization. Myelin ultrastructure can be visualized in the zebrafish from larval to adult stages via transmission electron microscopy, and the dynamic development of myelinating glial cells may be observed in vivo via transgenic reporter lines in zebrafish larvae. Zebrafish are amenable to genetic and pharmacological screens, and screens for myelinating glial phenotypes have revealed both genes and drugs that promote myelin development, many of which are conserved in mammalian glia. Recently, zebrafish have been employed as a model to understand the complex dynamics of myelinating glia during development and regeneration. In this chapter, we describe these key methodologies and recent insights into mechanisms that regulate myelination using the zebrafish model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-414
Number of pages32
JournalMethods in cell biology
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Myelination
  • Oligodendrocyte
  • Remyelination
  • Schwann cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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