Citron kinase regulates axon growth through a pathway that converges on cofilin downstream of RhoA

Zubair Ahmed, Michael Douglas, Martin Read, Martin Berry, Ann Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Axon regeneration in the adult central nervous system (CNS) is prevented by inhibitory molecules present in myelin, which bind to a receptor complex that leads to downstream RhoGTP activation and axon growth cone collapse. Here, we compared expression of Citron kinase (Citron-K), a target molecule of RhoGTP in non-regenerating dorsal root ganglia neurons (DRGN) after dorsal column (DC) injury, and in regenerating DRGN after either sciatic nerve (SN) injury or preconditioning SN+DC lesion models. We show by microarray that Citron-K mRNA levels in DRGN of non-regenerating DC injury model were elevated 2-fold compared to those of intact control DRGN. Conversely, Citron-K levels were reduced by 2 and 2.4-fold at 10days post lesion in the regenerating SN and preconditioning SN+DC lesion models, respectively, compared to levels in control intact DRGN. Western blotting and immunohistochemistry confirmed these observations and localised Citron-K immunolostaining to both DRGN and satellite glia. In dissociated, adult rat DRG cell cultures, 80% knockdown of Citron-K, in the presence of inhibitory concentrations of CNS myelin extracts (CME), promoted significant disinhibited DRGN neurite outgrowth, only when cells were stimulated with neurotrophic factors. The levels of RhoGTP remained unchanged after Citron-K knockdown in the presence of CME while enhanced cofilin levels correlated with disinhibited DRGN neurite outgrowth. This observation suggests that Citron-K plays a role in axon growth downstream of Rho activation. We conclude that Citron-K regulates actin polymerisation downstream of RhoA and may offer a potentially novel therapeutic approach for promoting CNS axon regeneration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-429
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2010


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