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Functionally Distinct Subgroups of Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells Integrate Neural Activity and Execute Myelin Formation

By Tobias Hoche, Roberta Marisca, Eneritz Agirre, Laura Jane Hoodless, Wenke Barkey, Franziska Auer, Goncalo Castelo-Branco, Tim Czopka

Posted 05 Jul 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/689505

Recent reports revealed heterogeneity of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs). It remains unclear if heterogeneity reflects different types of cells with distinct functions, or rather transiently acquired states of cells with the same function. By integrating lineage formation of individual OPC clones, single-cell transcriptomics, calcium imaging and manipulation of neural activity, we show that OPCs in the zebrafish spinal cord can be divided into two functionally distinct entities. One subgroup forms elaborate networks of processes and exhibits a high degree of calcium signalling, but infrequently differentiates, despite contact to permissive axons. Instead, these OPCs divide in an activity and calcium dependent manner to produce another subgroup with higher process motility and less calcium signaling, which readily differentiates. Our data show that OPC subgroups are functionally diverse in responding to neurons and reveal that activity regulates proliferation of a subset of OPCs that is distinct from the cells that generate differentiated oligodendrocytes.

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