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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
October 21, 2017
Canadian Excellence

Lillian DeBruin


email: Lillian DeBruin
phone: 519 884-0710
ext: 3599



Membrane Microdomains in Myelin

The myelin is a multi-layered membrane that ensheathes the axon, enabling rapid transmission of the nerve impulse. Within the myelin membrane there are unique regions or microdomains that are functional entities necessary for proper myelin development and maintenance. In general, microdomains are comprised of less-fluid lipids, such as glycosphingolipids and cholesterol. The different types of microdomains vary in their affinity for certain classes of proteins.  Lipid raft microdomains are found in most cellular membranes and are enriched in lipid-anchored proteins. Although caveolae have been observed as flask-shaped invaginations in the membrane, this particular microdomain has not been found in myelin or the myelin-producing cells. Other the myelin microdomains such as tetraspanin-enriched microdomains, gap junctions, and the radial component may be involving in complex signaling networks. To determine the roles of the various microdomains in myelin, it is necessary to separate each type from the bulk membrane and characterize their proteome. With differential extractions techniques we will isolate each microdomain, and with various 2D gel electrophoresis techniques and multi-dimensional protein identification analyses, we will determine the protein composition of the various myelin microdomains. The further analysis of multi-protein complexes will identify specific functional roles in the development and maintenance of the myelin sheath. From this knowledge, we can investigate the remodeling of myelin microdomains in various diseases and disorders of CNS “white matter”, such as multiple sclerosis, and determine molecular targets that can be used in therapeutic strategies.


  • CH490
    • 2007/08
      • Gazelle Crasto
      • Dave McRae 
  • Summer
    • 2008
      • Gazelle Crasto
      • Kevin Desmarais (co-supervised with Dr. Szabo)
      • Payal Patel
    • 2007
      • Gazelle Crasto (Co-op)


Coming soon.

Lab Resources

Funding Sources

Research generously supported by:


Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (MSSC)