Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Crucial protein for peripheral nerve repair manufactured within axon near injury site

Date:
July 25, 2012
Source:
Weizmann Institute of Science
Summary:
Contrary to scientific belief, a crucial protein for peripheral nerve repair is manufactured within the axon near the injury site.

Several years ago, Prof. Michael Fainzilber and his group in the Biological Chemistry Department made a surprising discovery: Proteins thought to exist only near the cell nucleus could also be found in the far-off regions of the body's longest cells -- peripheral nerve cells that extend processes called axons, reaching up to a meter in length in adult humans.

Related Articles


These proteins, known as importins, have a well-studied role in the vicinity of the nucleus: They shuttle various molecules through the protective nuclear membrane. Fainzilber and his group showed that when a nerve cell is injured somewhere along its length, importins in the long axons hook into a sort of "railcar" mechanism, which then transports the "Help!" message from the injury site all the way to the nucleus.

These findings raised an intriguing question: How did importins get to the axons in the first place? Initial evidence suggested that one critical importin, called importin beta1, is produced locally upon injury near the site where it is needed. The problem was that years of scientific thinking on the subject indicated that proteins do not get manufactured in the axons, as investigations had turned up few of the cellular protein factories known as ribosomes there.

Settling the issue was far from simple: Importins are so crucial that even the smallest embryo could not survive without them. But Rotem Ben-Tov Perry, a joint research student in Fainzilber's group and that of department colleague Dr. Avraham Yaron, found a way to distinguish the importin beta1 in the cell body from that in the axon: The axonal protein was apparently made from a longer messenger RNA. To see if they could selectively affect just the axonal version of the protein, the groups, together with Prof. Jeff Twiss of Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, took advantage of high precision knock-out technology. Rather than knocking a whole gene out of the system, they managed to remove one little piece of the messenger RNA that carries the encoded instructions for manufacturing importins: just the longer bit that sends the RNA to the axon.

Now they observed plenty of importin beta1 in the cell body, but none in the axons. Mice with the knocked out segment of RNA took much longer to recover from peripheral nerve injury, and the genes that are normally active in response to nerve damage were activated to a lesser degree. All of this suggests that the importin beta1 that normally helps inform the extended nerve cell about injury is, indeed, produced locally in the axon.

Fainzilber said, "The data shows conclusively that importin beta1 protein is produced in axons, and Rotem's work has validated the importins' crucial role in nerve repair." The findings, which appeared recently in Neuron, may help point the way toward better treatments for nerve damage and aid in finding ways to speed up the repair.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Weizmann Institute of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. RotemBen-Tov Perry, Ella Doron-Mandel, Elena Iavnilovitch, Ida Rishal, ShacharY. Dagan, Michael Tsoory, Giovanni Coppola, MargueriteK. McDonald, Cynthia Gomes, DanielH. Geschwind, JefferyL. Twiss, Avraham Yaron, Mike Fainzilber. Subcellular Knockout of Importin β1 Perturbs Axonal Retrograde Signaling. Neuron, 2012; 75 (2): 294 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.05.033

Cite This Page:

Weizmann Institute of Science. "Crucial protein for peripheral nerve repair manufactured within axon near injury site." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725132206.htm>.
Weizmann Institute of Science. (2012, July 25). Crucial protein for peripheral nerve repair manufactured within axon near injury site. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725132206.htm
Weizmann Institute of Science. "Crucial protein for peripheral nerve repair manufactured within axon near injury site." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725132206.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

AP (Oct. 31, 2014) Officials in the Washington area showed off Ebola response measures being taken at Dulles International Airport and the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Long-Distance Distress Signal from Periphery of Injured Nerve Cells Begins With Locally Made Protein

July 30, 2012 New research is one of the strongest indicators yet of molecular signaling from end to end in peripheral nerve cells. The new discoveries may help scientists better understand nerve cells' ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins