Gene expression profiling in response to nerve injury has been mainly focused on protein functions of coding genes to understand mechanisms of axon regeneration and to identify targets of potential therapeutics for nerve repair. However, the protein functions of several highly injury-induced genes including Gpr151 for regulating the regenerative ability remain unclear. Here we present an alternative approach focused on non-coding functions of the coding genes, which led to the identification of the non-coding function of Gpr151 RNA interacting with RNA-binding proteins such as CSDE1. Gpr151 promotes axon regeneration by the function of its 5′-untranslated region (5’UTR) and expression of an engineered form of the 5’UTR improves regenerative capacity in vitro and in vivo in both sciatic nerve and optic nerve injury models. Our data suggest that searching injury-induced coding genes potentially functioning by their non-coding regions is required for the RNA-based gene therapy for improving axon regeneration.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience