Role of c-Jun N-terminal kinase activation in blastema formation during planarian regeneration.
ABSTRACT The robust regenerative abilities of planarians absolutely depend on a unique population of pluripotent stem cells called neoblasts, which are the only mitotic somatic cells in adult planarians and are responsible for blastema formation after amputation. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms that drive blastema formation during planarian regeneration. Here we found that treatment with the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor SP600125 blocked the entry of neoblasts into the M-phase of the cell cycle, while allowing neoblasts to successfully enter S-phase in the planarian Dugesia japonica. The rapid and efficient blockage of neoblast mitosis by treatment with the JNK inhibitor provided a method to assess whether temporally regulated cell cycle activation drives blastema formation during planarian regeneration. In the early phase of blastema formation, activated JNK was detected prominently in a mitotic region (the "postblastema") proximal to the blastema region. Furthermore, we demonstrated that undifferentiated mitotic neoblasts in the postblastema showed highly activated JNK at the single cell level. JNK inhibition by treatment with SP600125 during this period caused a severe defect of blastema formation, which accorded with a drastic decrease of mitotic neoblasts in regenerating animals. By contrast, these animals still retained many undifferentiated neoblasts near the amputation stump. These findings suggest that JNK signaling plays a crucial role in feeding into the blastema neoblasts for differentiation by regulating the G2/M transition in the cell cycle during planarian regeneration.
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ABSTRACT: The naid annelids contain a number of species that vary in their ability to regenerate lost body parts, making them excellent candidates for evolution of regeneration studies. However, scant sequence data exists to facilitate such studies. We constructed a cDNA library from the naid Pristina leidyi, a species that is highly regenerative and also reproduces asexually by fission, using material from a range of regeneration and fission stages for our library. We then sequenced the transcriptome of P. leidyi using 454 technology. 454 sequencing produced 1,550,174 reads with an average read length of 376 nucleotides. Assembly of 454 sequence reads resulted in 64,522 isogroups and 46,679 singletons for a total of 111,201 unigenes in this transcriptome. We estimate that over 95% of the transcripts in our library are present in our transcriptome. 17.7% of isogroups had significant BLAST hits to the UniProt database and these include putative homologs of a number of genes relevant to regeneration research. Although many sequences are incomplete, the mean sequence length of transcripts (isotigs) is 707 nucleotides. Thus, many sequences are large enough to be immediately useful for downstream applications such as gene expression analyses. Using in situ hybridization, we show that two Wnt/β-catenin pathway genes (homologs of frizzled and β-catenin) present in our transcriptome are expressed in the regeneration blastema of P. leidyi, demonstrating the usefulness of this resource for regeneration research. 454 sequencing is a rapid and efficient approach for identifying large numbers of genes in an organism that lacks a sequenced genome. This transcriptome dataset will be a valuable resource for molecular analyses of regeneration in P. leidyi and will serve as a starting point for comparisons to non-regenerating naids. It also contributes significantly to the still limited genomic resources available for annelids and lophotrochozoans more generally.BMC Genomics 06/2012; 13:287. · 4.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A mechanistic understanding of robust self-assembly and repair capabilities of complex systems would have enormous implications for basic evolutionary developmental biology as well as for transformative applications in regenerative biomedicine and the engineering of highly fault-tolerant cybernetic systems. Molecular biologists are working to identify the pathways underlying the remarkable regenerative abilities of model species that perfectly regenerate limbs, brains, and other complex body parts. However, a profound disconnect remains between the deluge of high-resolution genetic and protein data on pathways required for regeneration, and the desired spatial, algorithmic models that show how self-monitoring and growth control arise from the synthesis of cellular activities. This barrier to progress in the understanding of morphogenetic controls may be breached by powerful techniques from the computational sciences-using non-traditional modeling approaches to reverse-engineer systems such as planaria: flatworms with a complex bodyplan and nervous system that are able to regenerate any body part after traumatic injury. Currently, the involvement of experts from outside of molecular genetics is hampered by the specialist literature of molecular developmental biology: impactful collaborations across such different fields require that review literature be available that presents the key functional capabilities of important biological model systems while abstracting away from the often irrelevant and confusing details of specific genes and proteins. To facilitate modeling efforts by computer scientists, physicists, engineers, and mathematicians, we present a different kind of review of planarian regeneration. Focusing on the main patterning properties of this system, we review what is known about the signal exchanges that occur during regenerative repair in planaria and the cellular mechanisms that are thought to underlie them. By establishing an engineering-like style for reviews of the molecular developmental biology of biomedically important model systems, significant fresh insights and quantitative computational models will be developed by new collaborations between biology and the information sciences.PLoS Computational Biology 04/2012; 8(4):e1002481. · 4.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Having an almost unlimited capacity to regenerate tissues lost to age and injury, planarians have long fascinated naturalists. In the Western hemisphere alone, their documented history spans more than 200 years. Planarians were described in the early 19th century as being 'immortal under the edge of the knife', and initial investigation of these remarkable animals was significantly influenced by studies of regeneration in other organisms and from the flourishing field of experimental embryology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This review strives to place the study of planarian regeneration into a broader historical context by focusing on the significance and evolution of knowledge in this field. It also synthesizes our current molecular understanding of the mechanisms of planarian regeneration uncovered since this animal's relatively recent entrance into the molecular-genetic age. WIREs Dev Biol 2013, 2:301-326. doi: 10.1002/wdev.82 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. Additional Supporting Information may be found in the online version of this article.Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Developmental biology. 05/2013; 2(3):301-326.