Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New understanding of regeneration gained by Forsyth scientists

15.11.2005


Planaria worms demonstrate how cells communicate and grow new tissues



Forsyth Institute research with the flatworm, planaria, offers new clues for understanding restoration of body structures. Researchers at The Forsyth Institute have discovered how the worm’s cells communicate to correctly repair and regenerate tissue. Forsyth scientists have found that gap-junction (microscopic tunnels directly linking neighboring cells) communication contributes to this signaling. This research, led by Dr. Michael Levin, underlies principles that can potentially offer insight into human regeneration.

The restoration of body structures following injury requires both an initiation of growth and an imposition of the correct morphology upon the regenerating tissue. Understanding this process is crucial for both the basic biology of pattern formation, and for developing novel biomedical approaches. Planaria have powerful regeneration capability that makes them ideal for studying this process. When the worms are cut in half, the bottom section of the worm grows a head and the upper section a tail. Scientists have suspected that the ability of previously adjacent cells (on either side of the cut) to adopt radically different fates, as is the case with planaria where the cells have to decide whether to build a head or a tail, could be due to long-range signaling, which allows the determination of position relative to - and the identity of - remaining tissue.


Michael Levin, PhD., Associate Member of the Staff, said, "This research has important implications for understanding the signaling necessary to build (or re-build) complex structures. By understanding how cells communicate through gap junctional channels we can gain a greater understanding of how we can possibly direct this process in tissues that don’t currently regenerate; this has clear applications towards induction of regeneration in biomedical settings." Dr. Levin and his team ultimately hope to gain an understanding of how adult stem cells are controlled by gap-junctional communication (GJC). As reported in the November 15 issue of Developmental Biology, Dr. Levin’s research team cloned and characterized the expression of twelve members of the innexin gene family during planarian regeneration. Innexins are proteins which make up gap junctions, and their expression was detected throughout the worms and in regeneration blastemas, undifferentiated cells from which an organ or body part develops, consistent with a role in long-range signaling relevant to specification of blastema positional identity.

Dr. Levin and Taisaku Nogi closed down the gap junctions to determine the impact on regeneration. As a result, the planaria often grew back two heads rather than a head and tail. The loss of GJC function had a direct impact on the regeneration process; without this communication the planaria cells at the posterior end became re-specified and formed a normal head, complete with brain, eyes, etc.. This is an example of a high-level "master" control signal. "If we can learn how to send appropriate signals through gap junctions, we may be able to tell the system to make a complex structure as needed." said Levin.

Michael Levin, PhD. is an Associate Member of the Staff in The Forsyth Institute Department of Cytokine Biology. Through experimental approaches and mathematical modeling, Dr. Levin and his team examine the processes governing large-scale pattern formation and biological information storage during animal embryogenesis. The lab’s investigations are directed toward understanding the mechanisms of signaling between cells and tissues that allows a biological system to reliably generate and maintain a complex morphology. The Levin team studies these processes in the context of embryonic development and regeneration, with a particular focus on the biophysics of cell behavior.

Jennifer Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.forsyth.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations
16.01.2018 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
16.01.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials

17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fraunhofer HHI receives AIS Technology Innovation Award 2018 for 3D Human Body Reconstruction

17.01.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>