This research was focused on regeneration of the nervous system, and on a highly efficient mechanism of repair known as axonal fusion. Axonal fusion allows regrowing axons to reconnect and fuse with their own separated fragments - in effect simply bridging the gap across the site of damage.
We found that axonal fusion restores full function to damaged neurons, allowing C. elegans to completely regain lost function within 48 hours. In addition, we found that injury results in changes to the axonal membrane, leading to the exposure of lipid ‘save-me’ signals. These 'save-me' signals mediate the level of axonal fusion, and are essential for the process to occur.
This research has implications for nervous system repair following injury to either the peripheral (limbs) or central nervous system (eg spinal cord injury).
In addition to be the first publication from our lab, this is the first publication for Zehra, Michelle and Sebastien!!
This is a wonderful achievement by the lab and well worth celebrating!
More info can be found on our publications page.