Oligodendrocytes (OLs) are myelinating cells of the central nervous system. Recent studies have shown that mechanical factors influence various cell properties. Mechanical stimuli can be transduced into intracellular biochemical signals through mechanosensors and intracellular mechanotransducers, such as YAP. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying mechanical regulation of OLs by YAP remain unknown. We found that OL morphology and interactions between OLs and neuronal axons were affected by knocking down YAP. Mechanical stretching of OL precursor cells induced nuclear YAP accumulation and assembly of focal adhesion, key platforms for mechanotransduction. Shear stress decreased the number of OL processes, whereas a dominant-negative form of YAP suppressed these effects. To investigate the roles of YAP in postnatal OLs in vivo, we constructed a novel YAP knock-in mouse and found that in vivo overexpression of YAP widely affected OL maturation. These results indicate that YAP regulates OL morphology and maturation in response to mechanical factors. GLIA 2017;65:360–374.
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