Accelerated Nerve Regeneration Mediated by Schwann Cells Expressing a Mutant Form of the POU Protein SCIP

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After injury, the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is capable of full regeneration and recovery of function. Many molecular events that are the hallmarks of the regenerating PNS are recapitulations of developmental processes. The expression of one such molecule, the POU transcription factor suppressed cAMP-inducible POU protein (SCIP), is required for the establishment of normal nerves and is reexpressed during regeneration. Here we describe markedly accelerated regeneration and hypertrophy of both myelin and axons in transgenic mice that express an amino-terminal deletion of the SCIP molecule. This mutant SCIP molecule retains the POU-specific and POU homeodomain moieties, which allow for both DNA binding and some protein-protein interaction. We demonstrate that the transgene indirectly effects dramatic axonal changes. This is the first demonstration of a genetically controlled acceleration of neural regeneration.

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