Curr Biol, Dec 2020

A Ca 2+-Dependent Switch Activates Axonal Casein Kinase 2α Translation and Drives G3BP1 Granule Disassembly for Axon Regeneration

Sahoo Pabitra K, Amar N Kar, Nitzan Samra, Marco Terenzio, Priyanka Patel, Seung Joon Lee, Sharmina Miller, Elizabeth Thames, Blake Jones, Riki Kawaguchi, Giovanni Coppola, Mike Fainzilber, Jeffery L Twiss


The main limitation on axon regeneration in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is the slow rate of regrowth. We recently reported that nerve regeneration can be accelerated by axonal G3BP1 granule disassembly, releasing axonal mRNAs for local translation to support axon growth. Here, we show that G3BP1 phosphorylation by casein kinase 2α (CK2α) triggers G3BP1 granule disassembly in injured axons. CK2α activity is temporally and spatially regulated by local translation of Csnk2a1 mRNA in axons after injury, but this requires local translation of mTor mRNA and buffering of the elevated axonal Ca2+ that occurs after axotomy. CK2α's appearance in axons after PNS nerve injury correlates with disassembly of axonal G3BP1 granules as well as increased phospho-G3BP1 and axon growth, although depletion of Csnk2a1 mRNA from PNS axons decreases regeneration and increases G3BP1 granules. Phosphomimetic G3BP1 shows remarkably decreased RNA binding in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons compared with wild-type and non-phosphorylatable G3BP1; combined with other studies, this suggests that CK2α-dependent G3BP1 phosphorylation on Ser 149 after axotomy releases axonal mRNAs for translation. Translation of axonal mRNAs encoding some injury-associated proteins is known to be increased with Ca2+ elevations, and using a dual fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) reporter assay for axonal translation, we see that translational specificity switches from injury-associated protein mRNA translation to CK2α translation with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca2+ release versus cytoplasmic Ca2+ chelation. Our results point to axoplasmic Ca2+ concentrations as a determinant for the temporal specificity of sequential translational activation of different axonal mRNAs as severed axons transition from injury to regenerative growth.


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