Finding the Way Back

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Science  09 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5655, pp. 147
DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5655.147b

After injury to a nerve, specific proteins of the axon are transported back into the cell body in order to promote repair and regrowth processes. Hanz et al. find that axoplasmic proteins bear nuclear localization signals (NLSs) and that, after nerve injury, the levels of the NLS-binding protein importin β increase because of local translation of axonal mRNA. Complexes between the axoplasmic NLS-bearing proteins and importin then form, and these are transported in a retrograde fashion by the motor protein dynein. If the NLS-protein-importin interaction is blocked by the addition of exogenous NLS peptide, regenerative outgrowth from the cell body is inhibited or delayed. Thus, lesion-induced up-regulation of importin β in the axon is important in promoting nerve regeneration. — SMH

Neuron 40, 1095 (2003).

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