Professor Naoki Hisamoto's research group at the Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University has conducted research using a nematode as a model, in which a protein that plays the role of a "reaper" that kills cells causes the severed nerves to "pretend to be dead." By doing so, we found that it induces the regeneration of cutting nerves, and elucidated the mechanism.
It is known that organisms have a mechanism to eliminate themselves by dying unnecessary cells generated in the body.At its core is a protein called caspase, which, when activated, causes cells to die.In other words, caspase can be said to be the "reaper" who executes death.
This time, the research group conducted an analysis using a nematode as a model to "do not kill" the nerve by caspase cutting only a part of a specific protein in the nerve where the axon was cut. We have found that only the signal "dead" is emitted to the outside.Furthermore, it was clarified for the first time that this "dead pretending" signal promotes nerve axon regeneration and induces nerve axon regeneration.
The results of this research clarify the mechanism by which the protein that plays the role of the "reaper" that executes cell death promotes regeneration, which is a life phenomenon that is the exact opposite of death.The elucidation of this unexpected phenomenon has revealed a new mechanism for promoting regeneration that was not previously envisioned, and at the same time, revealed a new role of caspase in death and regeneration.