The Journal of biological chemistry

In vivo and in vitro characterization of novel neuronal plasticity factors identified following spinal cord injury.

PMID 15522871


Following spinal cord injury, there are numerous changes in gene expression that appear to contribute to either neurodegeneration or reparative processes. We utilized high density oligonucleotide microarrays to examine temporal gene profile changes after spinal cord injury in rats with the goal of identifying novel factors involved in neural plasticity. By comparing mRNA changes that were coordinately regulated over time with genes previously implicated in nerve regeneration or plasticity, we found a gene cluster whose members are involved in cell adhesion processes, synaptic plasticity, and/or cytoskeleton remodeling. This group, which included the small GTPase Rab13 and actin-binding protein Coronin 1b, showed significantly increased mRNA expression from 7-28 days after trauma. Overexpression in vitro using PC-12, neuroblastoma, and DRG neurons demonstrated that these genes enhance neurite outgrowth. Moreover, RNAi gene silencing for Coronin 1b or Rab13 in NGF-treated PC-12 cells markedly reduced neurite outgrowth. Coronin 1b and Rab13 proteins were expressed in cultured DRG neurons at the cortical cytoskeleton, and at growth cones along with the pro-plasticity/regeneration protein GAP-43. Finally, Coronin 1b and Rab13 were induced in the injured spinal cord, where they were also co-expressed with GAP-43 in neurons and axons. Modulation of these proteins may provide novel targets for facilitating restorative processes after spinal cord injury.