October 29, 2020

rab-27 acts in an intestinal secretory pathway to inhibit axon regeneration in C. elegans

Injured axons must regenerate to restore nervous system function, and regeneration is regulated in part by external factors from non-neuronal tissues. Many of these extrinsic factors act in the immediate cellular environment of the axon to promote or restrict regeneration, but the existence of long-distance signals regulating axon regeneration has not been clear. Here we show that the Rab GTPase rab-27 inhibits regeneration of GABAergic motor neurons in C. elegans through activity in the intestine. Re-expression of RAB-27, but not the closely related RAB-3, in the intestine of rab-27 mutant animals is sufficient to rescue normal regeneration. Several additional components of an intestinal neuropeptide secretion pathway also inhibit axon regeneration, including NPDC1/cab-1, SNAP25/aex-4, and KPC3/aex-5. Together these data indicate that RAB-27-dependent neuropeptide secretion from the intestine inhibits axon regeneration, and point to distal tissues as potent extrinsic regulators of regeneration.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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