Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Neurobiology

Mitochondria make nerves grow

Enhancing the mobility of energy-producing structures called mitochondria in injured neurons helps these cells to regenerate in mice.

After an injury, some young neurons can regrow their long signalling arms known as axons, but mature cells cannot. Zu-Hang Sheng of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and his colleagues knocked out a gene called Snph in cultured mouse neurons. The gene encodes a protein, syntaphilin, that anchors mitochondria inside cells. The team found that 69% of young neurons lacking the gene began to form growing tips, compared with only 44% that had the gene. Similar effects were seen in adult mice, and injured mature neurons showed an increasing ability to regenerate with declining levels of syntaphilin.

Replenishing the energy supply in damaged axons by boosting the transport of mitochondria could be one way to treat nerve injuries, the authors suggest.

J. Cell Biol. http://doi.org/bj3n (2016)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Mitochondria make nerves grow. Nature 534, 439 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/534439e

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/534439e

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing