RNA-induced inflammation and migration of precursor neurons initiates neuronal circuit regeneration in zebrafish

Celia Vandestadt, Gilles C. Vanwalleghem, Mitra Amiri Khabooshan, Alon M. Douek, Hozana Andrade Castillo, Mei Li, Keith Schulze, Emily Don, Sebastian Alexander Stamatis, Madara Ratnadiwakara, Minna Liisa Änkö, Ethan K. Scott, Jan Kaslin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Tissue regeneration and functional restoration after injury are considered as stem- and progenitor-cell-driven processes. In the central nervous system, stem cell-driven repair is slow and problematic because function needs to be restored rapidly for vital tasks. In highly regenerative vertebrates, such as zebrafish, functional recovery is rapid, suggesting a capability for fast cell production and functional integration. Surprisingly, we found that migration of dormant “precursor neurons” to the injury site pioneers functional circuit regeneration after spinal cord injury and controls the subsequent stem-cell-driven repair response. Thus, the precursor neurons make do before the stem cells make new. Furthermore, RNA released from the dying or damaged cells at the site of injury acts as a signal to attract precursor neurons for repair. Taken together, our data demonstrate an unanticipated role of neuronal migration and RNA as drivers of neural repair.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Pages (from-to)2364-2380.e8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • adult neurogenesis
  • dsRNA
  • epimorphic
  • innate immunity
  • morphallactic
  • neural stem cell
  • repair
  • spinal cord
  • SRC
  • TLR3


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