Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How lizards regenerate their tails: Researchers discover genetic 'recipe'

Date:
August 20, 2014
Source:
Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Summary:
By understanding the secret of how lizards regenerate their tails, researchers may be able to develop ways to stimulate the regeneration of limbs in humans. Now, a team of researchers is one step closer to solving that mystery. The scientists have discovered the genetic “recipe” for lizard tail regeneration, which may come down to using genetic ingredients in just the right mixture and amounts.

Arizona State University researchers discovered that green anole lizards turn on at least 326 genes in specific regions of the regenerating tail, including genes involved in embryonic development, response to hormonal signals and wound healing.
Credit: Joel Robertson

By understanding the secret of how lizards regenerate their tails, researchers may be able to develop ways to stimulate the regeneration of limbs in humans. Now, a team of researchers from Arizona State University is one step closer to solving that mystery. The scientists have discovered the genetic "recipe" for lizard tail regeneration, which may come down to using genetic ingredients in just the right mixture and amounts.

Related Articles


An interdisciplinary team of scientists used next-generation molecular and computer analysis tools to examine the genes turned on in tail regeneration. The team studied the regenerating tail of the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis), which when caught by a predator, can lose its tail and then grow it back.

The findings are published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

"Lizards basically share the same toolbox of genes as humans," said lead author Kenro Kusumi, professor in ASU's School of Life Sciences and associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "Lizards are the most closely-related animals to humans that can regenerate entire appendages. We discovered that they turn on at least 326 genes in specific regions of the regenerating tail, including genes involved in embryonic development, response to hormonal signals and wound healing."

Other animals, such as salamanders, frog tadpoles and fish, can also regenerate their tails, with growth mostly at the tip. During tail regeneration, they all turn on genes in what is called the 'Wnt pathway' -- a process that is required to control stem cells in many organs such as the brain, hair follicles and blood vessels. However, lizards have a unique pattern of tissue growth that is distributed throughout the tail.

"Regeneration is not an instant process," said Elizabeth Hutchins, a graduate student in ASU's molecular and cellular biology program and co-author of the paper. "In fact, it takes lizards more than 60 days to regenerate a functional tail. Lizards form a complex regenerating structure with cells growing into tissues at a number of sites along the tail."

"We have identified one type of cell that is important for tissue regeneration," said Jeanne Wilson-Rawls, co-author and associate professor with ASU's School of Life Sciences. "Just like in mice and humans, lizards have satellite cells that can grow and develop into skeletal muscle and other tissues."

"Using next-generation technologies to sequence all the genes expressed during regeneration, we have unlocked the mystery of what genes are needed to regrow the lizard tail," said Kusumi. "By following the genetic recipe for regeneration that is found in lizards, and then harnessing those same genes in human cells, it may be possible to regrow new cartilage, muscle or even spinal cord in the future."

The researchers hope their findings will help lead to discoveries of new therapeutic approaches to spinal cord injuries, repairing birth defects, and treating diseases such as arthritis.

The research team included Kusumi, Hutchins, Wilson-Rawls, Alan Rawls, and Dale DeNardo from ASU School of Life Sciences, Rebecca Fisher from ASU School of Life Sciences and the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix, Matthew Huentelman from the Translational Genomic Research Institute, and Juli Wade from Michigan State University. This research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and Arizona Biomedical Research Commission.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Elizabeth D. Hutchins, Glenn J. Markov, Walter L. Eckalbar, Rajani M. George, Jesse M. King, Minami A. Tokuyama, Lauren A. Geiger, Nataliya Emmert, Michael J. Ammar, April N. Allen, Ashley L. Siniard, Jason J. Corneveaux, Rebecca E. Fisher, Juli Wade, Dale F. DeNardo, J. Alan Rawls, Matthew J. Huentelman, Jeanne Wilson-Rawls, Kenro Kusumi. Transcriptomic Analysis of Tail Regeneration in the Lizard Anolis carolinensis Reveals Activation of Conserved Vertebrate Developmental and Repair Mechanisms. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (8): e105004 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105004

Cite This Page:

Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "How lizards regenerate their tails: Researchers discover genetic 'recipe'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140820164317.htm>.
Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. (2014, August 20). How lizards regenerate their tails: Researchers discover genetic 'recipe'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140820164317.htm
Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "How lizards regenerate their tails: Researchers discover genetic 'recipe'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140820164317.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Slowed-down footage of the leaps of praying mantises show the insect&apos;s extraordinary precision, say researchers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Buzz60 (Mar. 5, 2015) A photographer got the shot of a lifetime, or rather an octopus did, when it grabbed the camera and turned it around to take an amazing picture of the photographer. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

AP (Mar. 5, 2015) The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its iconic elephant acts. The circus&apos; parent company, Feld Entertainment, told the AP exclusively that the acts will be phased out by 2018 over growing public concern about the animals. (March 5) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
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