PerspectiveNeuroscience

Nuclear Power for Axonal Growth

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Science  09 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5950, pp. 238-239
DOI: 10.1126/science.1181038

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Summary

Mammalian neurons exhibit a propensity for axonal growth during development and, to a varying degree, after axonal injury. In general, this growth is unnecessary for most of a neuron's lifetime. In rat retinal ganglion cells and other neurons of the mammalian central nervous system, the potential for axonal growth diminishes sharply around the time of birth. On page 298 of this issue, Moore et al. (1) show that the regenerative capacity of certain central nervous system neurons is suppressed by Krüppel-like factor–4 (KLF4), thus increasing the repertoire of transcription factors that regulate axonal growth. Information on intrinsic axonal growth programs is relevant not only to understanding nervous system development, but also to the long-standing hope of repairing the adult nervous system.