Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Turn Off Youth

Science Signaling  23 Apr 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 272, pp. ec91
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004261

Our neurons regenerate better when we are young than when we are more mature. Studying the mechanosensory anterior ventral microtubule (AVM) neuron of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, Zou et al. (see the Perspective by Nix and Bastiani) found that worms lacking microRNA machinery had unusually robust axon regeneration and youthful-looking growth cones. Under- and overexpression of let-7 microRNA confirmed its involvement in depressing axon regeneration.

Y. Zou, H. Chiu, A. Zinovyeva, V. Ambros, C.-F. Chuang, C. Chang, Developmental decline in neuronal regeneration by the progressive change of two intrinsic timers. Science 340, 372–376 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]

P. Nix, M. Bastiani, Heterochronic genes turn back the clock in old neurons. Science 340, 282–283 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]