Adult central nervous system (CNS) axons do not regenerate after injury because of extrinsic inhibitory factors, and a low intrinsic capacity for axon growth. Developing CNS neurons have a better regenerative ability, but lose this with maturity. This mini-review summarises recent findings which suggest one reason for regenerative failure is the selective distribution of growth machinery away from axons as CNS neurons mature. These studies demonstrate roles for the small GTPases ARF6 and Rab11 as intrinsic regulators of polarised transport and axon regeneration. ARF6 activation prevents the axonal transport of integrins in Rab11 endosomes in mature CNS axons. Decreasing ARF6 activation permits axonal transport, and increases regenerative ability. The findings suggest new targets for promoting axon regeneration after CNS injury.
- Journal Article