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Syntaxin13 Expression Is Regulated by Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) in Injured Neurons to Promote Axon Regeneration*


Injured peripheral neurons successfully activate intrinsic signaling pathways to enable axon regeneration. We have previously shown that dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons activate the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway following injury and that this activity enhances their axon growth capacity. mTOR plays a critical role in protein synthesis, but the mTOR-dependent proteins enhancing the regenerative capacity of DRG neurons remain unknown. To identify proteins whose expression is regulated by injury in an mTOR-dependent manner, we analyzed the protein composition of DRGs from mice in which we genetically activated mTOR and from mice with or without a prior nerve injury. Quantitative label-free mass spectrometry analyses revealed that the injury effects were correlated with mTOR activation. We identified a member of the soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) family of proteins, syntaxin13, whose expression was increased by injury in an mTOR-dependent manner. Increased syntaxin13 levels in injured nerves resulted from local protein synthesis and not axonal transport. Finally, knockdown of syntaxin13 in cultured DRG neurons prevented axon growth and regeneration. Together, these data suggest that syntaxin13 translation is regulated by mTOR in injured neurons to promote axon regeneration.

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