Glial kon/NG2 gene network for central nervous system repair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

The glial regenerative response to central nervous system (CNS) injury, although limited, can be harnessed to promote regeneration and repair. Injury provokes the proliferation of ensheathing glial cells, which can differentiate to remyelinate axons, and partially restore function. This response is evolutionarily conserved, strongly implying an underlying genetic mechanism. In mammals, it is elicited by NG2 glia, but most often newly generated cells fail to differentiate. Thus an important goal had been to find out how to promote glial differentiation following the proliferative response. A gene network involving Notch and prospero (pros) controls the balance between glial proliferation and differentiation in flies and mice, and promotes CNS repair at least in fruit-flies. A key missing link had been how to relate the function of NG2 to this gene network. Recent findings by Losada-Perez et al., published in JCB, demonstrated that the Drosophila NG2 homologue kon-tiki (kon) is functionally linked to Notch and pros in glia. By engaging in two feedback loops with Notch and Pros, in response to injury, Kon can regulate both glial cell number and glial shape homeostasis, essential for repair. Drosophila offers powerful genetics to unravel the control of stem and progenitor cells for regeneration and repair.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-34
JournalNeural Regeneration Research
Volume12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • NG2, kon-tiki, glia, Drosophila, injury, CNS, regeneration, repair