Current treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and neural injuries face major challenges, primarily due to the diminished regenerative capacity of neurons in the mammalian CNS as they mature. Here, we investigated the role of Ezh2, a histone methyltransferase, in regulating mammalian axon regeneration. We found that Ezh2 declined in the mouse nervous system during maturation but was upregulated in adult dorsal root ganglion neurons following peripheral nerve injury to facilitate spontaneous axon regeneration. In addition, overexpression of Ezh2 in retinal ganglion cells in the CNS promoted optic nerve regeneration via both histone methylation–dependent and –independent mechanisms. Further investigation revealed that Ezh2 fostered axon regeneration by orchestrating the transcriptional silencing of genes governing synaptic function and those inhibiting axon regeneration, while concurrently activating various factors that support axon regeneration. Notably, we demonstrated that GABA transporter 2, encoded by Slc6a13, acted downstream of Ezh2 to control axon regeneration. Overall, our study underscores the potential of modulating chromatin accessibility as a promising strategy for promoting CNS axon regeneration.
Xue-Wei Wang, Shu-Guang Yang, Ming-Wen Hu, Rui-Ying Wang, Chi Zhang, Anish R. Kosanam, Arinze J. Ochuba, Jing-Jing Jiang, Ximei Luo, Yun Guan, Jiang Qian, Chang-Mei Liu, Feng-Quan Zhou