Axon regeneration after nerve injury is a conserved biological process in many animals, including humans. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) has recently emerged as a genetically tractable model for studying regenerative responses in neurons. Extensive studies over several years using this organism have revealed a number of intrinsic and extrinsic signal transduction cascades that regulate axon regeneration, and these are found to be conserved from worms to humans. Further studies have demonstrated that these cascades consist of several signaling networks that ultimately merge into the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) cascade. In this review, we describe some recent insights into the signaling cascades controlling axon regeneration in C. elegans and describe their conserved roles in other organisms including mammals.
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