Regeneration

Regrow like an axolotl

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Science  10 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6325, pp. 592
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6325.592-a

Axolotls regenerate limbs by using a mechanism with ancient origins.

PHOTO: JANE BURTON/MINDEN PICTURES

Unlike starfish or fictional superheroes, most vertebrates cannot regrow their limbs. Axolotls are an exception. Owing to the large size of their genomes (32 Gb), Bryant et al. turned to RNA sequencing, de novo transcriptome assembly, and experimental validation to probe regeneration in these salamanders. First, cirbp, a gene encoding an RNA-binding protein, was identified and found to play a role in protecting progenitor cells from cell death. Further, kazald1 was important for temporal and spatial aspects of limb regeneration, similar to prior findings in hydra, suggesting an ancient evolutionary origin. Aspects of limb regeneration share some features with mechanisms of cancer and the wound response; hence, the axolotl data could be a valuable resource.

Cell Rep. 18, 762 (2017).

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