MicroRNA-138 and SIRT1 form a mutual negative feedback loop to regulate mammalian axon regeneration

Chang Mei Liu, Rui Ying Wang, Saijilafu, Zhong Xian Jiao, Bo Yin Zhang, Feng Quan Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Regulated gene expression determines the intrinsic ability of neurons to extend axons, and loss of such ability is the major reason for the failed axon regeneration in the mature mammalian CNS. MicroRNAs and histone modifications are key epigenetic regulators of gene expression, but their roles in mammalian axon regeneration are not well explored. Here we report microRNA-138 (miR-138) as a novel suppressor of axon regeneration and show that SIRT1, the NAD-dependent histone deacetylase, is the functional target of miR-138. Importantly, we provide the first evidence that miR-138 and SIRT1 regulate mammalian axon regeneration in vivo. Moreover, we found that SIRT1 also acts as a transcriptional repressor to suppress the expression of miR-138 in adult sensory neurons in response to peripheral nerve injury. Therefore, miR-138 and SIRT1 form a mutual negative feedback regulatory loop, which provides a novel mechanism for controlling intrinsic axon regeneration ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1473-1483
Number of pages11
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Axon growth
  • Axon regeneration
  • Histone deacetylase
  • MicroRNA
  • SIRT1
  • miR-138

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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