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Healing with Elgans

Protein called ADM-4 enables injured nerve cell repair by membrane fusion

19 April 2022

Healing with Elgans

Neurobiologists are searching for novel ways to repair nerves after injury. While our neurons often struggle to heal on their own, those in injured nematode worms (C.elegans) fuse the fragile axons back together – highlighted here in different colours. Delving inside the worm, researchers find a protein called EFF-1, a fusogen that helps cell membranes merge together. Another protein, ADM-4, supports EFF-1 when sticking together wounded neurons – even stepping in to prune away old EFF-1 to make way for new connections. Humans have a version of the ADM-4 gene, so work is underway to see if it can be coaxed to help axon fusion in a similar way, healing nerves to prevent paralysis in the future.

Written by John Ankers

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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