Cell type-specific Nogo-A gene ablation promotes axonal regeneration in the injured adult optic nerve
Authors: Vajda F, Jordi N, Dalkara D, Joly S, Christ F, Tews B, Schwab ME, Pernet V
CellNetworks People: Tews Björn
Journal: Cell Death Differ. 2015 Feb;22(2):323-35. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2014.147. Epub 2014 Sep 26

Nogo-A is a well-known myelin-enriched inhibitory protein for axonal growth and regeneration in the central nervous system (CNS). Besides oligodendrocytes, our previous data revealed that Nogo-A is also expressed in subpopulations of neurons including retinal ganglion cells, in which it can have a positive role in the neuronal growth response after injury, through an unclear mechanism. In the present study, we analyzed the opposite roles of glial versus neuronal Nogo-A in the injured visual system. To this aim, we created oligodendrocyte (Cnp-Cre(+/-)xRtn4/Nogo-A(flox/flox)) and neuron-specific (Thy1-Cre(tg+)xRtn4(flox/flox)) conditional Nogo-A knock-out (KO) mouse lines. Following complete intraorbital optic nerve crush, both spontaneous and inflammation-mediated axonal outgrowth was increased in the optic nerves of the glia-specific Nogo-A KO mice. In contrast, neuron-specific deletion of Nogo-A in a KO mouse line or after acute gene recombination in retinal ganglion cells mediated by adeno-associated virus serotype 2.Cre virus injection in Rtn4(flox/flox) animals decreased axon sprouting in the injured optic nerve. These results therefore show that selective ablation of Nogo-A in oligodendrocytes and myelin in the optic nerve is more effective at enhancing regrowth of injured axons than what has previously been observed in conventional, complete Nogo-A KO mice. Our data also suggest that neuronal Nogo-A in retinal ganglion cells could participate in enhancing axonal sprouting, possibly by cis-interaction with Nogo receptors at the cell membrane that may counteract trans-Nogo-A signaling. We propose that inactivating Nogo-A in glia while preserving neuronal Nogo-A expression may be a successful strategy to promote axonal regeneration in the CNS.