Transferrin, the iron mobilization protein, and its mRNA are normally present in oligodendrocytes. Previous reports using myelin mutants have shown both a decrease in transferrin protein and mRNA when the oligodendrocyte population is compromised. In this study the shiverer mouse mutant in which the oligodendrocyte population is numerically normal, but has both quantitatively diminished and qualitatively abnormal myelin was used. This animal model was chosen to address the question whether expression of the transferrin message and/or protein correlated more closely to the number of oligodendrocytes (normal) or the amount of myelin (abnormally low). A 1/2 to 2/3 decrease in transferrin protein occurred in all brain regions examined except for the spinal cord in the shiverer group compared to both heterozygous littermates and wild type controls. Levels of transferrin transcripts in the brain are not affected by the shiverer mutation. These results taken with previous reports from this laboratory indicate that the presence of oligodendrocytes is a requirement for normal expression of transferrin mRNA in brain but is not sufficient for normal values of the protein. The level of Tf protein correlates more closely with the amount of myelin present than it does with the numbers of oligodendrocytes present. These data are consistent with previous reports from our laboratory that transferrin accumulation by oligodendrocytes is associated with myelin production by these cells. These data further suggest transferrin mRNA may be constitutively expressed by oligodendrocytes and that the protein expression is regulated at the level of translation. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience