Lin28 Signaling Supports Mammalian PNS and CNS Axon Regeneration

Cell Rep. 2018 Sep 4;24(10):2540-2552.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.07.105.


RNA-binding proteins Lin28a/b regulate cellular growth and tissue regeneration. Here, we investigated the role of Lin28 in the control of axon regeneration in postmitotic neurons. We find that Lin28a/b are both necessary and sufficient for supporting axon regeneration in mature sensory neurons through their regulatory partners, let-7 microRNAs (miRNAs). More importantly, overexpression of Lin28a in mature retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) produces robust and sustained optic nerve regeneration. Additionally, combined overexpression of Lin28a and downregulation of Pten in RGCs act additively to promote optic nerve regeneration, potentially by reducing the backward turning of regenerating RGC axons. Our findings not only reveal a vital role of Lin28 signaling in regulating mammalian axon regeneration but also identify a signaling pathway that can promote axon regeneration in the central nervous system (CNS).

Keywords: Lin28; RNA binding protein; axon regeneration; dorsal root ganglion; let-7; microRNA; optic nerve regeneration; reprogramming factor; retinal ganglion cell; sciatic nerve.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Central Nervous System / cytology*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Electroporation
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Nerve Regeneration / genetics
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology
  • Optic Nerve / metabolism
  • Optic Nerve / physiology
  • Optic Nerve Injuries / metabolism
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nervous System / cytology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Lin-28 protein, mouse
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase