The capacity for long-distance migration of the oligodendrocyte precursor cell, oligondendrocyte-type 2 astrocyte (O-2A), is essential for myelin formation. To study the molecular mechanisms that control this process, we used an in vitro migration assay that uses neurohypophysial explants. We provide evidence that O-2A cells in these preparations express functional N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, most likely as homomeric complexes of the NR1 subunit. We show that NMDA evokes an increase in cytosolic Ca2+ that can be blocked by the NMDA receptor antagonist AP-5 and by Mg2+ . Blocking the activity of these receptors dramatically diminished O-2A cell migration from explants. We also show that NMDA receptor activity is necessary for the expression by O-2A cells of the highly sialylated polysialic acid-neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) that is required for their migration. Thus, glutamate or glutamate receptor ligands may regulate O-2A cell migration by modulating expression of PSA-NCAM. These studies demonstrate how interactions between ionotropic receptors, intracellular signaling, and cell adhesion molecule expression influence cell surface properties, which in turn are critical determinants of cell migration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology