Multiple transcription factor families regulate axon growth and regeneration

Dev Neurobiol. 2011 Dec;71(12):1186-211. doi: 10.1002/dneu.20934.


Understanding axon regenerative failure remains a major goal in neuroscience, and reversing this failure remains a major goal for clinical neurology. Although an inhibitory central nervous system environment clearly plays a role, focus on molecular pathways within neurons has begun to yield fruitful insights. Initial steps forward investigated the receptors and signaling pathways immediately downstream of environmental cues, but recent work has also shed light on transcriptional control mechanisms that regulate intrinsic axon growth ability, presumably through whole cassettes of gene target regulation. Here we will discuss transcription factors that regulate neurite growth in vitro and in vivo, including p53, SnoN, E47, cAMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB), signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), nuclear factor of activated T cell (NFAT), c-Jun activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3), sex determining region Ybox containing gene 11 (Sox11), nuclear factor κ-light chain enhancer of activated B cells (NFκB), and Krüppel-like factors (KLFs). Revealing the similarities and differences among the functions of these transcription factors may further our understanding of the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in axon growth and regeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / drug effects
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Regeneration / drug effects
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / pharmacology


  • Transcription Factors