Patricia Wight

Patricia A. Wight
Ph.D, University of California, Riverside
Office: (501) 686-5366
Lab: (501) 686-5367

The focus of research in my laboratory is centered on CNS development, particularly with regard to the formation and maintenance of myelin. Myelin is the tightly compacted multilamellar sheath, which surrounds axons and promotes saltatory conduction of nerve impulses. The myelin proteolipid protein (Plp) gene encodes the most abundant protein found in mature myelin from the CNS. Expression of the gene is regulated spatiotemporally, with maximal expression occurring in oligodendrocytes during the myelination period of CNS development. Plp gene expression is tightly controlled; misregulation of the gene in humans can result in the dysmyelinating disorder Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease, and in transgenic mice carrying a null mutation or extra copies of the gene can result in a variety of conditions, from late onset demyelination and axonopathy to severe early onset dysmyelination. With the use of transgenic and transfection paradigms, we have been able to show that the first intron of the Plp gene contains a transcription regulatory element/region that controls temporal expression in oligodendrocytes. We believe that this element acts as an enhanceosome. In addition, the first intron also contains other regulatory elements that act to modulate Plp gene activity in other cell types. Current efforts in the laboratory are focused on identifying the transcription factors/architectural proteins that bind to these regulatory elements, and ultimately at elucidating the mechanisms whereby these proteins affect Plp gene transcription.

Dr. Wight’s Laboratory Homepage

Representative Publications

Pereira G.B., Meng F., Kockara N.T., Yang B., and Wight P.A. (2013) Targeted deletion of the antisilencer/enhancer (ASE) element from intron 1 of the myelin proteolipid protein gene (Plp1) in mouse reveals that the element is dispensable for Plp1 expression in brain during development and remyelination J. Neurochem. 124:454-465.

Zolova O.E. and Wight P.A. (2011) YY1 Negatively Regulates Mouse Myelin Proteolipid Protein (Plp1) Gene Expression in Oligodendroglial Cells. ASN Neuro 3(4):223-232.

Pereira G.B., Dobretsova A., Hamdan H., and Wight P.A. (2011) Expression of myelin genes: comparative analysis of Oli-neu and N20.1 oligodendroglial cell lines. J. Neurosci. Res. 89:1070-1078

Li S., Greuel B.T., Meng F., Pereira G.B., Pitts A., Dobretsova A., and Wight P.A. (2009) Leydig cells express the myelin proteolipid protein gene and incorporate a new alternatively spliced exon. Gene 436:30-36

Dobretsova A., Johnson J.W., Jones R.C., Edmondson R.D., and Wight P.A. (2008) Proteomic analysis of nuclear factors binding to an intronic enhancer in the myelin proteolipid protein gene. J. Neurochem. 105:1979-1995.

Wight P.A., Duchala C.S., Gudz T.I., Shick H.E., and Macklin W.B. (2007) Expression of a myelin proteolipid protein (Plp)-lacZ transgene is reduced in both the CNS and PNS of Plpjp mice. Neurochem. Res. 32:343-351.

Meng F., Zolova O., Kokorina N.A., Dobretsova A., and Wight P.A. (2005) Characterization of an intronic enhancer that regulates myelin proteolipid protein (Plp) gene expression in oligodendrocytes. J. Neurosci. Res. 82:346-356.

Dobretsova A., Kokorina N.A., and Wight P.A. (2004) Potentiation of myelin proteolipid protein (Plp) gene expression is mediated through AP-1-like binding sites. J. Neurochem. 90:1500-1510.

Wight P. A. and Dobretsova A. (2004) Where, when and how much: regulation of myelin proteolipid protein gene expression. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 61:810-821.

Li S., Moore C.L., Dobretsova A., and Wight P.A. (2002). Myelin proteolipid protein (Plp) intron 1 DNA is required to temporally regulate Plp gene expression in the brain. J. Neurochem. 83:193-201.

Li S., Dobretsova A., Kokorina N.A., and Wight P.A. (2002) Repression of myelin proteolipid protein gene expression is mediated through both general and cell type-specific negative regulatory elements in non-expressing cells. J. Neurochem. 82:159-171.

Link to Dr. Wight at Pub-Med