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 Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>