The differentiation of oligodendrocytes from progenitors requires a complex sequence of molecular and morphological events. This proposal investigates mechanisms responsible for nuclear size reduction and chromatin condensation that distinguish oligodendrocyte nuclei from other lineages. Besides the conceptual and technological novelty, this proposal is highly relevant for a better understanding of the mechanism of cell identity and for the implications it may have on a large number of pathologies of the central nervous system.
Oligodendrocytes are implicated in numerous psychiatric and neurological disorders, such as schizophrenia, autism, multiple sclerosis and leukodystrophies, where oligodendrocyte differentiation or survival is impaired. Therefore understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying these events will lead to a better understanding of these pathologies.