Oligodendrocyte proteoglycans: modulation by cell-substratum adhesion.
The signals that trigger the cytodifferentiation of oligodendrocytes (OLGs) are largely unknown. Using as a model system cultures of pure OLGs, we have shown that adhesion to a substratum initiates myelinogenesis (Yim SH, Szuchet S, Polak PE, J Biol Chem 261:11808-11815, 1986). It was of interest to investigate whether components such as proteoglycans (PGs) play any role in the biology of OLGs as it pertains to myelinogenesis. We set out to determine first, whether OLGs carry PGs; second, the nature of the association of these components with OLG plasma membrane; and third, if and how these PGs are modulated by OLG-substratum interaction. We compared the expression and characteristics of PGs extracted with different solvents from nonattached (B3.f) and attached (B3.fA) OLGs. B3.f and B3.fA OLG cultures were labeled with carrier-free 35SO4(2-) in serum-free medium. After removing excess label, OLGs were treated with heparin to extract susceptible components. Pellets were then exposed to 1% Triton X-100 plus 0.1 M NaCl and subsequently to 4 M guanidine-HCl plus 0.5 M NaCl. Solutions containing extracted material were characterized by size-exclusion chromatography, SDS-PAGE, and enzymatic degradation. Herein we report that (1) OLGs display [35S]PGs on their surface within 24 hr of substratum adhesion, and (2) these PGs can be operationally classified as peripheral and integral. We further show that the peripheral PGs are of high and intermediate size as assessed by size-exclusion chromatography and are segregated within the plasma membrane in such a way that the species with intermediate mass are extracted while OLGs remain adhered, whereas the high-molecular-weight species are only extracted after OLGs have been detached. Heparin also dislodges a number of sulfated proteins/Gps. Only a single class--high molecular weight--of integral PGs was identified; this PG requires guanidine-HCl for extraction. All PGs belong to the heparan sulfate class as evidenced by their degradation with heparitinase and their lack of susceptibility to chondroitinase ABC. The common theme of our findings is that these macromolecules have basal levels of expression in the nonadhered OLGs but undergo an adhesion-induced enhancement in their syntheses. We postulate that these PGs (1) play a role in OLG-substratum adhesion and hence myelinogenesis, and (2) may be determinants in establishing OLG polarity. Such polarization is the first overt sign of OLG functional differentiation and occurs prior to any morphological differentiation, e.g., extension of processes does not occur until 48 hr later when the plasma membrane is already polarized.
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