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Nat Neurosci. 2012 Mar 4;15(4):551-7. doi: 10.1038/nn.3052.

The growth factor SVH-1 regulates axon regeneration in C. elegans via the JNK MAPK cascade.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Japan.


The ability of neurons to undergo regenerative growth after injury is governed by cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic regeneration pathways. These pathways represent potential targets for therapies to enhance regeneration. However, the signaling pathways that orchestrate axon regeneration are not well understood. In Caenorhabditis elegans, the Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 MAP kinase (MAPK) pathways are important for axon regeneration. We found that the C. elegans SVH-1 growth factor and its receptor, SVH-2 tyrosine kinase, regulate axon regeneration. Loss of SVH-1-SVH-2 signaling resulted in a substantial defect in the ability of neurons to regenerate, whereas its activation improved regeneration. Furthermore, SVH-1-SVH-2 signaling was initiated extrinsically by a pair of sensory neurons and functioned upstream of the JNK-MAPK pathway. Thus, SVH-1-SVH-2 signaling via activation of the MAPK pathway acts to coordinate neuron regeneration response after axon injury.

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