Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene discovered that activates stem cells for organ regeneration in Planarians

Date:
July 3, 2014
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
Researchers announced the discovery of a gene zic-1 that enables stem cells to regrow a head after decapitation in flatworm planarians. Many species across the animal kingdom have the ability to regenerate, but the mechanisms that connect injuries to stem cell activation and the production of new tissues are not fully understood.

The animal on the left is a normal worm that successfully regenerated a head and tail (white/unpigmented tissue). In the animal on the right, the zic-1 gene was inactivated, which prevented head regeneration.
Credit: Christian Petersen

Researchers announced the discovery of a gene zic-1 that enables stem cells to regrow a head after decapitation in flatworm planarians. Professor Christian Petersen and Ph.D. student Constanza Vásquez-Doorman of Northwestern University discovered zic-1 by investigating planarians, an animal that uses pluripotent stem cells to regrow any missing tissue lost from injury.

The study, entitled "zic-1 Expression in Planarian Neoblasts after Injury Controls Anterior Pole Regeneration," was reported in PLOS Genetics.

Many species across the animal kingdom have the ability to regenerate, but the mechanisms that connect injuries to stem cell activation and the production of new tissues are not fully understood. Developmental biologists have established that in the early embryo most animals use "tissue organizers" that secrete proteins to allow cell-cell communication for the formation of organs. But it was not clear how such tissue organizers could be produced from scratch to allow adult regeneration in animals like planarians.

A clue to the solution came from Petersen's previous research that identified the secreted protein Notum as a component of a tissue organizer needed for head regeneration in planarians. Notum drives head regeneration by inhibiting Wnt signaling, a broadly used molecular pathway used in cell-cell communication. Vásquez-Doorman and Petersen found that expression of the Notum protein and head regeneration required the zic-1 gene, which encodes a DNA-binding protein activated in stem cells early after decapitation.

Human stem cells could ultimately be used to build or repair complex tissues, but most ongoing research on these cells has focused on their ability to create individual cell types in a dish. Petersen's study identifies a potentially ancient connection between Wnt signaling and zic-1 in the use of stem cells for coordinating regenerative growth and suggests that human stem cells might someday be used to create tissue organizers for enhancement of injury repair.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by PLOS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Constanza Vásquez-Doorman, Christian P. Petersen. zic-1 Expression in Planarian Neoblasts after Injury Controls Anterior Pole Regeneration. PLoS Genetics, 2014; 10 (7): e1004452 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004452

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "Gene discovered that activates stem cells for organ regeneration in Planarians." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140703142348.htm>.
PLOS. (2014, July 3). Gene discovered that activates stem cells for organ regeneration in Planarians. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140703142348.htm
PLOS. "Gene discovered that activates stem cells for organ regeneration in Planarians." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140703142348.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) — The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) — Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins