In search for the molecular mechanisms underlying the formation of the major dense line in peripheral nerve myelin we investigated mice deficient in the myelin proteins P0 and MBP. In mice lacking both molecules axons were enwrapped by myelin-like processes devoid of the major dense line, while mice deficient in either protein showed, respectively, partial and normal compaction. Mice heterozygous for P0 but devoid of MBP showed myelin of reduced thickness around axons of normal caliber. Both molecules thus contribute to the formation of the major dense line and to the determination of myelin thickness. Furthermore, our observations modify the view that axon caliber is dependent on normal myelin.