PTBP1 regulates injury responses and sensory pathways in adult peripheral neurons

Sci Adv. 2023 Jul 28;9(30):eadi0286. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adi0286. Epub 2023 Jul 28.


Polypyrimidine tract binding protein 1 (PTBP1) is thought to be expressed only at embryonic stages in central neurons. Its down-regulation triggers neuronal differentiation in precursor and non-neuronal cells, an approach recently tested for generation of neurons de novo for amelioration of neurodegenerative disorders. Moreover, PTBP1 is replaced by its paralog PTBP2 in mature central neurons. Unexpectedly, we found that both proteins are coexpressed in adult sensory and motor neurons, with PTBP2 restricted mainly to the nucleus, while PTBP1 also shows axonal localization. Levels of axonal PTBP1 increased markedly after peripheral nerve injury, and it associates in axons with mRNAs involved in injury responses and nerve regeneration, including importin β1 (KPNB1) and RHOA. Perturbation of PTBP1 affects local translation in axons, nociceptor neuron regeneration and both thermal and mechanical sensation. Thus, PTBP1 has functional roles in adult axons. Hence, caution is required before considering targeting of PTBP1 for therapeutic purposes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Axons* / metabolism
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins / genetics
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / metabolism
  • Nerve Regeneration* / genetics
  • Neurons* / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries* / genetics
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries* / metabolism


  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins
  • PTBP1 protein, human