The robust axonal growth and regenerative capacities of young neurons decrease substantially with age. This developmental downregulation of axonal growth may facilitate axonal pruning and neural circuit formation but limits functional recovery following nerve damage. While external factors influencing axonal growth have been extensively investigated, relatively little is known about the intrinsic molecular changes underlying the age-dependent reduction in regeneration capacity. We report that developmental downregulation of LIS1 is responsible for the decreased axonal extension capacity of mature dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. In contrast, exogenous LIS1 expression or endogenous LIS1 augmentation by calpain inhibition restored axonal extension capacity in mature DRG neurons and facilitated regeneration of the damaged sciatic nerve. The insulator protein CTCF suppressed LIS1 expression in mature DRG neurons, and this reduction resulted in excessive accumulation of phosphoactivated GSK-3β at the axon tip, causing failure of the axonal extension. Conversely, sustained LIS1 expression inhibited developmental axon pruning in the mammillary body. Thus, LIS1 regulation may coordinate the balance between axonal growth and pruning during maturation of neuronal circuits.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)