To elucidate the molecular involvement of transglutaminase (TG) in central nervous system (CNS) regeneration, we cloned a full-length cDNA for neural TG (TGN) from axo-tomized goldfish retinas and produced a recombinant TGN protein from this cDNA. The levels of TGn mRNA and protein were increased at 10-30 days after optic nerve transection, and this increase in TGN was only localized in the ganglion cells in goldfish retinas. In retinal explant cultures, the recombinant TGN protein induced a drastic enhancement of neurite outgrowth, while TGN-specific RNAi significantly suppressed this neurite outgrowth. Taken together, these data strongly indicate that TGN is a key regulatory molecule for CNS regeneration.
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