Molecular mechanisms regulating spinal cord regeneration

Year of award: 2016


  • Dr Karel Dorey

    University of Manchester

Project summary

The transcriptome of spinal cord injuries (SCI) have been reported from different species such as mouse, rat, zebrafish and xenopus. These experiments led to a consensus that the immune response has a negative effect on the recovery following SCI and the characterisation of ‘regenerative-associated genes’ (RAGs). However, these experiments have yet to uncover the intrinsic mechanisms promoting spinal cord regeneration.

To uncover the genes and mechanisms upregulated during spinal cord regeneration, we will compare the transcriptome of the spinal cord three days after amputation when spinal cord re-growth begins in wild type xenopus tadpoles and those with Foxm1 genetic knock outs. Foxm1 is a transcription factor that we have identified as being specifically expressed in the regenerated spinal cord and is required for efficient regeneration. This is a novel approach as only a handful of transcriptomic experiments of neuronal regeneration using knock-out models have been reported.

This project will generate a dataset of new molecular players operating during spinal cord regeneration. This novel dataset will provide us with ample preliminary data for further exploration of the mechanisms of spinal cord regeneration, in particular its promotion in both amphibians and mammals.