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Syntenin-a promotes spinal cord regeneration following injury in adult zebrafish

Authors

  • Yong Yu,

    1. Center for Neuroscience, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, Guangdong, China
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  • Melitta Schachner

    Corresponding author
    1. W. M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA
    • Center for Neuroscience, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, Guangdong, China
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Correspondence: Melitta Schachner, as above.

E-mail: schachner@stu.edu.cn

Abstract

In contrast to mammals, adult zebrafish recover locomotor function after spinal cord injury, in part due to the capacity of the central nervous system to repair severed connections. To identify molecular cues that underlie regeneration, we conducted mRNA expression profiling and found that syntenin-a expression is upregulated in the adult zebrafish spinal cord caudal to the lesion site after injury. Syntenin is a scaffolding protein involved in mammalian cell adhesion and movement, axonal outgrowth, establishment of cell polarity, and protein trafficking. It could thus be expected to be involved in supporting regeneration in fish. Syntenin-a mRNA and protein are expressed in neurons, glia and newly generated neural cells, and upregulated caudal to the lesion site on days 6 and 11 following spinal cord injury. Treatment of spinal cord-injured fish with two different antisense morpholinos to knock down syntenin-a expression resulted in significant inhibition of locomotor recovery at 5 and 6 weeks after injury, when compared to control morpholino-treated fish. Knock-down of syntenin-a reduced regrowth of descending axons from brainstem neurons into the spinal cord caudal to the lesion site. These observations indicate that syntenin-a is involved in regeneration after traumatic insult to the central nervous system of adult zebrafish, potentially leading to novel insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms that require activation in the regeneration-deficient mammalian central nervous system.

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