Changes in the coding/non-coding transcriptome and DNA methylome that define the Schwann cell repair phenotype after nerve injury

Peter J Arthur-Farraj, Claire C Morgan, Martyna Adamowicz-Brice, Jose A. Gomez-Sanchez, Shaline V Fazal, Anthony Beucher, Bonnie Razzaghi, Rhona Mirsky, Kristjan R Jessen, Timothy Aitman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Peripheral nerves consist of two principal cellular components, nerve cells (neurons) and supporting cells (Schwann cells). Remarkably, during periods of nerve damage, Schwann cells transform into an injury-specific cell type, called repair Schwann cells which are specialized for nervous system regeneration.

In this study, researchers based in the University of Edinburgh, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and University College London have identified a number of genes expressed by repair Schwann cells that are also expressed in a number of cancers, highlighting that the evolutionary mechanisms to promote tissue repair are closely related to those involved in tumour formation. Furthermore, they mapped the genome-wide changes in the epigenome - patterns of chemical modifications to the DNA, called DNA methylation, and changes in expression of non-coding RNA molecules - in these cells, to discover epigenetic markers specific for repair Schwann cells.

Together, these findings demonstrate the changes that an adult mammalian cell undergoes, at the molecular level, to adapt to tissue injury and promote nervous system regeneration. This knowledge will now help guide development of therapeutic strategies to help improve nerve regeneration in patients with nerve disorders (peripheral neuropathies) and patients with traumatic nerve injuries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCell Reports
Volume20
Issue number11
Early online date12 Sep 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Schwann cell
  • repair Schwann cell
  • nerve injury
  • nerve regeneration
  • epigenetics
  • c-Jun
  • DNA methylation
  • microRNA
  • long non-coding RNA

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