In Caenorhabditis elegans, the JNK MAP kinase (MAPK) pathway is important for axon regeneration. The JNK pathway is activated by a signaling cascade consisting of the growth factor SVH-1 and its receptor tyrosine kinase SVH-2. Expression of the svh-2 gene is induced by axonal injury in a process involving the transcription factors ETS-4 and CEBP-1. Here, we find that svh-14/mxl-1, a gene encoding a Max-like transcription factor, is required for activation of svh-2 expression in response to axonal injury. We show that MXL-1 binds to and inhibits the function of TDPT-1, a C. elegans homolog of mammalian tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 2 [TDP2; also called Ets1-associated protein II (EAPII)]. Deletion of tdpt-1 suppresses the mxl-1 defect, but not the ets-4 defect, in axon regeneration. TDPT-1 induces SUMOylation of ETS-4, which inhibits ETS-4 transcriptional activity, and MXL-1 counteracts this effect. Thus, TDPT-1 interacts with two different transcription factors in axon regeneration.
Keywords: C. elegans; Ets; SUMOylation; TDP2/EAPII; axon regeneration.
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