Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stem cells and regeneration: Opening up a new can of worms

03.05.2005


Although they may look small and unassuming, planarian worms are famous in the scientific world for their extraordinary ability to regenerate body parts after injury. Even a small piece cut off a planarian can reorganize and regenerate to form a whole new worm. Now, scientists have completed the first systematic investigation of gene function in planarians, opening the door to using genetic analysis to decipher how regeneration works in this enigmatic animal. The research, published in the May issue of Developmental Cell, provides new insight into how individual genes control regeneration and may provide relevant information that further enhances the understanding of human development and health.


Credit: Peter Reddien and Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado



Planarian regeneration depends on a population of adult stem cells called neoblasts that have the potential to turn into any type of planarian cell. Although planarians and humans are not closely related, many of the genes found in planarians are also present in humans. Understanding what regulates regeneration and neoblasts in planarians may provide information about how stem cells may be used to replace diseased or damaged tissues in humans.

Dr. Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado and colleagues from the University of Utah School of Medicine, in particular postdoctoral fellow Dr. Peter W. Reddien, used RNA interference (RNAi) to identify specific genes required for regeneration and stem cell function in planarians. RNAi interferes with the process of protein synthesis by interrupting the transfer of protein-producing instructions contained in genes to the site in the cell where the protein is actually made. The gene is essentially silenced because, without delivery of the proper instructions, the protein it codes for never gets produced.


The researchers evaluated the physical defects that arose after inhibition of specific genes with RNAi in intact animals and on the proliferation of neoblasts in animals with amputations. As a result of these studies, candidate regulators of stem cells and directors of sequential steps of regeneration were identified along with genes that appeared to be critical for normal physiological processes.

"Our study demonstrates the great potential of RNAi for the systematic exploration of gene function in understudied organisms and establishes planarians as a powerful model for the molecular genetic study of stem cells, regeneration, and tissue homeostasis," says Dr. Sánchez Alvarado. "Further characterizations of the genes and phenotypes identified in this study will help refine how individual genes within phenotype categories function to regulate regeneration."

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cell.com
http://www.developmentalcell.com/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>