Mounting a regenerative response after injury is a multistep process for PNS neurons. The reason for failure of mammalian CNS neurons to regenerate successfully may involve more than one of those steps. Han et al. [Exp. Neurol. 189 (2004) 293] and others show that increasing cAMP levels in neuronal cell bodies elicits a partial regenerative response, altering expression of tubulin isotypes but not expression of other growth-associated genes or rate of axonal transport. This approach allows identification of specific steps in the regenerative response and the roles played by these steps.