Oligodendrocyte development is regulated by the interaction of repressors and activators in a complex transcriptional network. We found that two histone-modifying enzymes, HDAC1 and HDAC2, were required for oligodendrocyte formation. Genetic deletion of both Hdac1 and Hdac2 in oligodendrocyte lineage cells resulted in stabilization and nuclear translocation of Β-catenin, which negatively regulates oligodendrocyte development by repressing Olig2 expression. We further identified the oligodendrocyte-restricted transcription factor TCF7L2/TCF4 as a bipartite co-effector of Β-catenin for regulating oligodendrocyte differentiation. Targeted disruption of Tcf7l2 in mice led to severe defects in oligodendrocyte maturation, whereas expression of its dominant-repressive form promoted precocious oligodendrocyte specification in developing chick neural tube. Transcriptional co-repressors HDAC1 and HDAC2 compete with Β-catenin for TCF7L2 interaction to regulate downstream genes involved in oligodendrocyte differentiation. Thus, crosstalk between HDAC1/2 and the canonical Wnt signaling pathway mediated by TCF7L2 serves as a regulatory mechanism for oligodendrocyte differentiation.
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