In many neurological disorders strategies for a specific delivery of a biological activity from the periphery to the central nervous system (CNS) remains a considerable challenge for successful therapy. Reporter assays have established that the non-toxic C-fragment of tetanus toxin (TTC), provided either as protein or encoded by non-viral naked DNA plasmid, binds pre-synaptic motor neuron terminals and can facilitate the retrograde axonal transport of desired therapeutic molecules to the CNS. Alleviated symptoms in animal models of neurological diseases upon delivery of therapeutic molecules offer a hopeful prospect for TTC therapy. This review focuses on what has been learned on TTC-mediated neuronal targeting, and discusses the recent discovery that, instead of being merely a carrier molecule, TTC itself may well harbor neuroprotective properties.
Keywords: gene therapy; motor neuron disease; neurodegenerative disease; retrograde transport; tetanus toxin C-fragment; therapeutic molecules.