Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, have identified a potential new target for drugs to restore function to the central nervous system after injury [Nature, Vol. 409, No. 6818, 18 Jan 2001, pp. 341–346]. Axons, the long arms of nerve cells, are essential for neuronal communication, but they do not regenerate after injury to the adult mammalian brain or spinal cord. This failure to regenerate is due in part to the production of a potent growth inhibitor, 'Nogo', by the cells that sheath axons in the insulating protein 'myelin'.
Stephen M. Strittmatter and colleagues have now found a high-affinity receptor for the extracellular domain of Nogo. This receptor provides the first insight into how Nogo acts. It is hoped that disrupting the interaction of Nogo with the new receptor may facilitate axonal regeneration in vivo.
Stephen M. Strittmatter
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