Axon regeneration in C. elegans: Worming our way to mechanisms of axon regeneration

Exp Neurol. 2017 Jan;287(Pt 3):300-309. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2016.08.015. Epub 2016 Aug 26.


How axons repair themselves after injury is a fundamental question in neurobiology. With its conserved genome, relatively simple nervous system, and transparent body, C. elegans has recently emerged as a productive model to uncover the cellular mechanisms that regulate and execute axon regeneration. In this review, we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the C. elegans model of regeneration. We explore the technical advances that enable the use of C. elegans for in vivo regeneration studies, review findings in C. elegans that have contributed to our understanding of the regeneration response across species, discuss the potential of C. elegans research to provide insight into mechanisms that function in the injured mammalian nervous system, and present potential future directions of axon regeneration research using C. elegans.

Keywords: Axon regeneration; C. elegans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Nerve Degeneration / pathology*
  • Nerve Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology