The DLK signalling pathway - a double-edged sword in neural development and regeneration.
Tedeschi A, Bradke F.
Dual leucine zipper kinase (DLK), a mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase, controls axon growth, apoptosis and neuron degeneration during neural development, as well as neurodegeneration after various insults to the adult nervous system. Interestingly, recent studies have also highlighted a role of DLK in promoting axon regeneration in diverse model systems. Invertebrates and vertebrates, cold- and warm-blooded animals, as well as central and peripheral mammalian nervous systems all differ in their ability to regenerate injured axons. Here, we discuss how DLK-dependent signalling regulates apparently contradictory functions during neural development and regeneration in different species. In addition, we outline strategies to fine-tune DLK function, either alone or together with other approaches, to promote axon regeneration in the adult mammalian central nervous system.