Maintaining cellular proteostasis is essential for oligodendrocyte viability and function; however, its underlying mechanisms remain unexplored. Unfolded protein response (UPR), which comprises 3 parallel branches, inositol requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1), pancreatic ER kinase (PERK), and activating transcription factor 6α (ATF6α), is a major mechanism that maintains cellular proteostasis by facilitating protein folding, attenuating protein translation, and enhancing autophagy and ER-associated degradation. Here we report that impaired UPR in oligodendrocytes via deletion of PERK and ATF6α did not affect developmental myelination but caused late-onset mature oligodendrocyte dysfunction and death in young adult mice. The detrimental effects of the impaired UPR on mature oligodendrocytes were accompanied by autophagy impairment and intracellular proteolipid protein (PLP) accumulation and were rescued by PLP deletion. Data indicate that PLP was degraded by autophagy and that intracellular PLP accumulation was cytotoxic to oligodendrocytes. Thus, these findings imply that the UPR is required for maintaining cellular proteostasis and the viability and function of mature oligodendrocytes in adults by regulating autophagy of PLP.


Sarrabeth Stone, Shuangchan Wu, Klaus-Armin Nave, Wensheng Lin


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