Kinesin-1-powered microtubule sliding initiates axonal regeneration in Drosophila cultured neurons

Wen Lu, Margot Lakonishok, Vladimir I. Gelfand*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Understanding the mechanism underlying axon regeneration is of great practical importance for developing therapeutic treatment for traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. Dramatic cytoskeleton reorganization occurs at the injury site, and microtubules have been implicated in the regeneration process. Previously we demonstrated that microtubule sliding by conventional kinesin (kinesin-1) is required for initiation of neurite outgrowth in Drosophila embryonic neurons and that sliding is developmentally down-regulated when neurite outgrowth is completed. Here we report that mechanical axotomy of Drosophila neurons in culture triggers axonal regeneration and regrowth. Regenerating neurons contain actively sliding microtubules; this sliding, like sliding during initial neurite outgrowth, is driven by kinesin-1 and is required for axonal regeneration. The injury induces a fast spike of calcium, depolymerization of microtubules near the injury site, and subsequent formation of local new microtubule arrays with mixed polarity. These events are required for reactivation of microtubule sliding at the initial stages of regeneration. Furthermore, the c-Jun N-terminal kinase pathway promotes regeneration by enhancing microtubule sliding in injured mature neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1296-1307
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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