Axon-Schwann cell interactions are crucial for the development, function, and repair of the peripheral nervous system, but mechanisms underlying communication between axons and nonmyelinating Schwann cells are unclear. Here, we show that ER81 is functionally required in a subset of mouse RET+ mechanosensory neurons for formation of Pacinian corpuscles, which are composed of a single myelinated axon and multiple layers of nonmyelinating Schwann cells, and Ret is required for the maintenance of Er81 expression. Interestingly, Er81 mutants have normal myelination but exhibit deficient interactions between axons and corpuscle-forming nonmyelinating Schwann cells. Finally, ablating Neuregulin-1 (Nrg1) in mechanosensory neurons results in no Pacinian corpuscles, and an Nrg1 isoform not required for communication with myelinating Schwann cells is specifically decreased in Er81-null somatosensory neurons. Collectively, our results suggest that a RET-ER81-NRG1 signaling pathway promotes axon communication with nonmyelinating Schwann cells, and that neurons use distinct mechanisms to interact with different types of Schwann cells.
- Neuregulin 1
- Neuron schwann cell interaction
- Pacinian corpuscle
- RET signaling
ASJC Scopus subject areas