Myelin, formed by oligodendrocytes (OLs) in the CNS, is critical for axonal functions, and its damage leads to debilitating neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of myelination and the pathogenesis of human myelin disease has been limited partly by the relative lack of identification and functional characterization of the repertoire of human myelin proteins. Here, we present a large-scale analysis of the myelin proteome, using the shotgun approach of 1-dimensional PAGE and liquid chromatography/tandem MS. Three hundred eight proteins were commonly identified from human and mouse myelin fractions. Comparative microarray analysis of human white and gray matter showed that transcripts of several of these were elevated in OL-rich white matter compared with gray matter, providing confidence in their detection in myelin. Comparison with other databases showed that 111 of the identified proteins/transcripts also were expressed in OLs, rather than in astrocytes or neurons. Comparison with 4 previous myelin proteomes further confirmed more than 50% of the identified proteins and revealed the presence of 163 additional proteins. A select group of identified proteins also were verified by immunoblotting. We classified the identified proteins into biological subgroups and discussed their relevance in myelin biogenesis and maintenance. Taken together, the study provides insights into the complexity of this metabolically active membrane and creates a valuable resource for future in-depth study of specific proteins in myelin with relevance to human demyelinating diseases.
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