The Scientist – Dr. Hongyan Zou: "Epigenetics of Regeneration"
Repairing damaged neurons relies on booting a histone deacetylase out of the nucleus so regeneration genes can be turned on. A study showed that when axons are injured in peripheral sensory neurons, a wave of calcium ions courses from the site of the injury down the axon to the cell body. Subsequently, histone deacetylase 5 (HDAC5)—an epigenetic regulator of gene expression—accumulates at the tips of the damaged axons. "The strength of this work is the mechanistic understanding of how peripheral neurons repair themselves," said Hongyan Zou, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who was not involved in the study.