Schwann cells (SCs), the glia of the peripheral nervous system, play an essential role in nerve regeneration. Upon nerve injury, SCs are reprogrammed into unique “repair SCs,” and these cells remove degenerating axons/myelin debris, promote axonal regrowth, and ultimately remyelinate regenerating axons. The AP-1 transcription factor JUN is promptly induced in SCs upon nerve injury and potently mediates this injury-induced SC plasticity; however, the regulation of these JUN-dependent SC injury responses is unclear. Previously, we produced mice with a SC-specific deletion of O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT). This enzyme catalyzes O-GlcNAcylation, a posttranslational modification that is influenced by the cellular metabolic state. Mice lacking OGT in SCs develop a progressive demyelinating peripheral neuropathy. Here, we investigated the nerve repair process in OGT-SCKO mutant mice and found that the remyelination of regenerating axons is severely impaired. Gene expression profiling of OGT-SCKO SCs revealed that the JUN-dependent SC injury program was elevated in the absence of injury and failed to shut down at the appropriate time after injury. This aberrant JUN activity results in abnormalities in repair SC function and redifferentiation and prevents the timely remyelination. This aberrant nerve injury response is normalized in OGT-SCKO mice with reduced Jun gene dosage in SCs. Mechanistically, OGT O-GlcNAcylates JUN at multiple sites, which then leads to an attenuation of AP-1 transcriptional activity. Together, these results highlight the metabolic oversight of the nerve injury response via the regulation of JUN activity by O-GlcNAcylation, a pathway that could be important in the neuropathy associated with diabetes and aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8019-8024
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number31
StatePublished - Jul 31 2018


  • JUN
  • Nerve injury
  • O-GlcNAcylation
  • OGT
  • Schwann cells


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