Id proteins are thought to act as dominant negative antagonists of basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors that direct differentiation in various cell types. We found that Schwann cells express all four Id-family genes and that their transcript levels were reciprocally regulated in pairs during nerve maturation in vivo and cAMP-mediated differentiation in vitro. The rapid induction as part of the early response to axonal membranes and cytokines suggested that Id3 is involved in myelin gene repression. An inverse relationship between Id1/3 and myelin P0 expression was consistent with a role for these two Id proteins as inhibitors of differentiation, and Id1/3 proteins strongly repressed myelin gene promoter activity. Nuclear factors isolated from Schwann cells and intact sciatic nerves were found to bind three different HLH recognition sequences (E boxes) in the proximal region of the PO promoter, and production of these DNA binding complexes was altered during differentiation. These data support the concept that Id proteins regulate myelin gene expression by controlling the formation of specific bHLH DNA binding complexes with different E-box preferences.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology