Mutations in dock1 disrupt early Schwann cell development

Rebecca L. Cunningham, Amy L. Herbert, Breanne L. Harty, Sarah D. Ackerman, Kelly R. Monk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: In the peripheral nervous system (PNS), specialized glial cells called Schwann cells produce myelin, a lipid-rich insulating sheath that surrounds axons and promotes rapid action potential propagation. During development, Schwann cells must undergo extensive cytoskeletal rearrangements in order to become mature, myelinating Schwann cells. The intracellular mechanisms that drive Schwann cell development, myelination, and accompanying cell shape changes are poorly understood. Methods: Through a forward genetic screen in zebrafish, we identified a mutation in the atypical guanine nucleotide exchange factor, dock1, that results in decreased myelination of peripheral axons. Rescue experiments and complementation tests with newly engineered alleles confirmed that mutations in dock1 cause defects in myelination of the PNS. Whole mount in situ hybridization, transmission electron microscopy, and live imaging were used to fully define mutant phenotypes. Results: We show that Schwann cells in dock1 mutants can appropriately migrate and are not decreased in number, but exhibit delayed radial sorting and decreased myelination during early stages of development. Conclusions: Together, our results demonstrate that mutations in dock1 result in defects in Schwann cell development and myelination. Specifically, loss of dock1 delays radial sorting and myelination of peripheral axons in zebrafish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17
JournalNeural Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 8 2018


  • Myelination
  • Schwann cell development
  • Zebrafish
  • dock1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience


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