Unlocking the Mechanisms of Myelin Plasticity:
The last decade was marked with the discovery that myelin is a plastic structure that can adapt to its environment, in pathological and physiological states and in animal models and Humans as well. However, the factors and genes that regulate myelin plasticity remain mostly unknown.
The Horner lab has previously used a retrovirus coupled to a membrane bound mouse reporter to differentiate between old and new myelin after spinal cord injury. This unique tool will be the key to unlocking the mechanisms of myelin plasticity and regeneration.
1) Using this tool as a myelin labeling reporter, we can distinguish distinct myelin stages and implement profiling studies to identify novel genes involved in regeneration and plasticity.
2) We are also building a retroviral toolbox to easily perform gain- and loss-of-function studies. The retrovirus can then be used to label developmental myelin and follow plasticity over time, or after injury to distinguished function in regenerating myelin.