Navigation Links
Master regulator found for regenerating nerve fibers in live animals
Date:10/25/2009

Boston, Mass. -- Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston report that an enzyme known as Mst3b, previously identified in their lab, is essential for regenerating damaged axons (nerve fibers) in a live animal model, in both the peripheral and central nervous systems. Their findings, published online by Nature Neuroscience on October 25, suggest Mst3b or agents that stimulate it as a possible means of treating stroke, spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injury. Normally, neurons in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) cannot regenerate injured nerve fibers, limiting people's ability to recover from brain or spinal cord injuries.

The study, led by Nina Irwin, PhD and Larry Benowitz, PhD, of the Laboratories for Neuroscience Research in Neurosurgery and the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Children's, builds on previous discoveries in the lab. In 2002, they showed that a naturally occurring small molecule, inosine, stimulates axon regeneration, later showing that it helps restore neurological functions in animal models of injury. In 2006, Benowitz and colleagues reported a previously unknown growth factor, oncomodulin, to have dramatic effects on axon growth.

Investigating the mechanisms of action of inosine and oncomodulin, Irwin and Benowitz discovered that both compounds activate Mst3b, an enzyme that appears to be a master regulator of a cell-signaling pathway controlling axon growth. Mst3b, a protein kinase, in turn activates signals that switch on the genes necessary for axons to grow.

Working with live rats whose optic nerve was damaged (a common model of central-nervous-system injury), Irwin, Benowitz and colleagues show that in the absence of Mst3b, axons show very little regeneration, even in the presence of factors known to enhance axon growth. In cell cultures, axon growth increased when activated Mst3b was expressed in the neurons.

"All the growth factors we've tested oncomodulin, inosine, brain-derived neurotropic factor, nerve growth factor act through Mst3b," says Benowitz. "In fact, activating Mst3b by itself is enough to cause growth even if there are no growth factors around. In terms of basic understanding of nerve cells, this is a very exciting finding."

Further studies examining how Mst3b exerts this growth-promoting effect may open up new avenues for treating brain and spinal cord injuries, Benowitz says. While this study explains why growth factors work because they stimulate Mst3b it's not yet known whether Mst3b is the best stimulator of axon growth from a practical drug-development standpoint, he adds.

Irwin is now working on possible gene therapy approaches involving Mst3b. Activating Mst3b may help overcome some natural "brakes" in the cell-signaling system that prevent nerve regeneration under normal conditions.


'/>"/>

Contact: James Newton
james.newton@childrens.edu
617-919-3110
Children's Hospital Boston
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New research network at McMaster aims to build a better eye
2. Master gene that switches on disease-fighting cells identified by scientists
3. Suppressing cancer with a master control gene
4. McMaster researchers discover new mode of how diseases evolve
5. Master gene plays key role in blood sugar levels
6. New book helps medical students master clinical skills
7. New master switch found in the brain that regulates appetite and reproduction
8. McMaster University engineering professor receives Humboldt Research Award
9. Master Lock(R) smartTOUCH(TM) Garage Door Opener to be Featured on Hispanic Network Radio Weekend Show
10. Bits of junk RNA aid master tumor-suppressor gene
11. Regulatory role of key molecule discovered at Hebrew U.
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/28/2017)... Germany , February 28, 2017 News ... ... Amsterdam from 14 to 16 March, Materna ... destination, and show how seamless travel is a real benefit for ... has added biometrics to their passenger touch point solutions to take ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... 2017 With the biometrics market to ... four technologies that innovative and agile startups must ... in the changing competitive landscape: multifactor authentication (MFA), ... "Companies can no longer afford to ... Dimitrios Pavlakis , Industry Analyst at ABI ...
(Date:2/13/2017)... , Feb. 13, 2017  RSA Conference -- ... platform that is designed to enhance fraud detection ... release in the RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence ... organizations to leverage additional insights from internal and ... to better protect their customers from targeted cybercrime ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... and ROCKVILLE, Md. , March ... of Maxwell Biotech Venture Fund (MBVF), today announced positive ... added to the standard drug therapy regimen in patients ... small molecule drug discovered by scientists at Sequella, Inc. ... Institutes of Health. A total of ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 2017 Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN), an immuno-oncology ... cancer vaccines, today announced participation at the following conferences: ... Blair and Maidstone Life Sciences conference "Cancer Immunotherapy Conference" ... New York, NY . Agenus will participate ... 9:40 am: Robert B. Stein , M.D., Ph.D., ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017  SeraCare Life Sciences, Inc., a ... vitro diagnostics manufacturers and clinical laboratories, is ... multiplexed Inherited Cancer reference material ... next-generation sequencing (NGS). The Seraseqâ„¢ Inherited Cancer DNA ... from industry experts to validate the ability ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... YORK , March 23, 2017 ... ... of death, putting significant strain on health care systems, in ... cancer diagnoses rises, so too does the development of innovative ... minimum side effects. Among the many types of cancer treatments, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: