Epitranscriptomic m6A Regulation of Axon Regeneration in the Adult Mammalian Nervous System

Neuron. 2018 Jan 17;97(2):313-325.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.12.036.


N6-methyladenosine (m6A) affects multiple aspects of mRNA metabolism and regulates developmental transitions by promoting mRNA decay. Little is known about the role of m6A in the adult mammalian nervous system. Here we report that sciatic nerve lesion elevates levels of m6A-tagged transcripts encoding many regeneration-associated genes and protein translation machinery components in the adult mouse dorsal root ganglion (DRG). Single-base resolution m6A-CLIP mapping further reveals a dynamic m6A landscape in the adult DRG upon injury. Loss of either m6A methyltransferase complex component Mettl14 or m6A-binding protein Ythdf1 globally attenuates injury-induced protein translation in adult DRGs and reduces functional axon regeneration in the peripheral nervous system in vivo. Furthermore, Pten deletion-induced axon regeneration of retinal ganglion neurons in the adult central nervous system is attenuated upon Mettl14 knockdown. Our study reveals a critical epitranscriptomic mechanism in promoting injury-induced protein synthesis and axon regeneration in the adult mammalian nervous system.

Keywords: CNS axon regeneration; DRG; Mettl14; PNS axon regeneration; RGC; YTHDF1; epitranscriptomics; mRNA methylation; protein synthesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenosine / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics*
  • Ganglia, Spinal / metabolism
  • Gene Ontology
  • Methyltransferases / deficiency
  • Methyltransferases / physiology*
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nerve Crush
  • Nerve Regeneration / genetics*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / physiology
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Sciatic Nerve / injuries
  • Sciatic Neuropathy / genetics
  • Sciatic Neuropathy / physiopathology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / ultrastructure
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ythdf1 protein, mouse
  • Methyltransferases
  • Mettl14 protein, mouse
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Pten protein, mouse
  • Adenosine