Article

Defining the molecular profile of planarian pluripotent stem cells using a combinatorial RNAseq, RNA interference and irradiation approach.

Centre for Genetics and Genomics, University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, UK.
Genome biology (Impact Factor: 10.3). 03/2012; 13(3):R19. DOI: 10.1186/gb-2012-13-3-r19
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Planarian stem cells, or neoblasts, drive the almost unlimited regeneration capacities of freshwater planarians. Neoblasts are traditionally described by their morphological features and by the fact that they are the only proliferative cell type in asexual planarians. Therefore, they can be specifically eliminated by irradiation. Irradiation, however, is likely to induce transcriptome-wide changes in gene expression that are not associated with neoblast ablation. This has affected the accurate description of their specific transcriptomic profile.
We introduce the use of Smed-histone-2B RNA interference (RNAi) for genetic ablation of neoblast cells in Schmidtea mediterranea as an alternative to irradiation. We characterize the rapid, neoblast-specific phenotype induced by Smed-histone-2B RNAi, resulting in neoblast ablation. We compare and triangulate RNA-seq data after using both irradiation and Smed-histone-2B RNAi over a time course as means of neoblast ablation. Our analyses show that Smed-histone-2B RNAi eliminates neoblast gene expression with high specificity and discrimination from gene expression in other cellular compartments. We compile a high confidence list of genes downregulated by both irradiation and Smed-histone-2B RNAi and validate their expression in neoblast cells. Lastly, we analyze the overall expression profile of neoblast cells.
Our list of neoblast genes parallels their morphological features and is highly enriched for nuclear components, chromatin remodeling factors, RNA splicing factors, RNA granule components and the machinery of cell division. Our data reveal that the regulation of planarian stem cells relies on posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms and suggest that planarians are an ideal model for this understudied aspect of stem cell biology.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
162 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: PIWI proteins are well known for their roles in the animal germline. They are essential for germline development and maintenance, and together with their binding partners, the piRNAs, they mediate transposon silencing. More recently, PIWI proteins have also been identified in somatic stem cells in diverse animals. The expression of PIWI proteins in these cells could be related to the ability of such cells to contribute to the germline. However, evaluation of stem cell systems across many different animal phyla suggests that PIWI proteins have an ancestral role in somatic stem cells, irrespective of their contribution to the germ cell lineage. Moreover, the data currently available reveal a possible correlation between the differentiation potential of a cell and its PIWI levels.
    Integrative and Comparative Biology 06/2014; · 3.02 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Planarians are an important model organism for regeneration and stem cell research. A complete understanding of stem cell and regeneration dynamics in these animals requires time-lapse imaging in vivo, which has been difficult to achieve due to a lack of tissue-specific markers and the strong negative phototaxis of planarians. We have developed the Planarian Immobilization Chip (PIC) for rapid, stable immobilization of planarians for in vivo imaging without injury or biochemical alteration. The chip is easy and inexpensive to fabricate, and worms can be mounted for and removed after imaging within minutes. We show that the PIC enables significantly higher-stability immobilization than can be achieved with standard techniques, allowing for imaging of planarians at sub-cellular resolution in vivo using brightfield and fluorescence microscopy. We validate the performance of the PIC by performing time-lapse imaging of planarian wound closure and sequential imaging over days of head regeneration. We further show that the device can be used to immobilize Hydra, another photophobic regenerative model organism. The simple fabrication, low cost, ease of use, and enhanced specimen stability of the PIC should enable its broad application to in vivo studies of stem cell and regeneration dynamics in planarians and Hydra.
    Scientific reports. 01/2014; 4:6388.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Planarians are flatworms capable of regenerating any missing body region. This capacity is mediated by neoblasts, a proliferative cell population that contains pluripotent stem cells. Although population-based studies have revealed many neoblast characteristics, whether functionally distinct classes exist within this population is unclear. Here, we used high-dimensional single-cell transcriptional profiling from over a thousand individual neoblasts to directly compare gene expression fingerprints during homeostasis and regeneration. We identified two prominent neoblast classes that we named ζ (zeta) and σ (sigma). Zeta-neoblasts encompass specified cells that give rise to an abundant postmitotic lineage, including epidermal cells, and are not required for regeneration. By contrast, sigma-neoblasts proliferate in response to injury, possess broad lineage capacity, and can give rise to zeta-neoblasts. These findings indicate that planarian neoblasts comprise two major and functionally distinct cellular compartments.
    Cell stem cell. 07/2014;

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
27 Downloads
Available from
May 30, 2014