Research Article

Single-cell analysis uncovers convergence of cell identities during axolotl limb regeneration

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Science  26 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6413, eaaq0681
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaq0681

How the axolotl makes a new limb

Unlike most vertebrate limbs, the axolotl limb regenerates the skeleton after amputation. Dermal and interstitial fibroblasts have been thought to provide sources for skeletal regeneration, but it has been unclear whether preexisting stem cells or dedifferentiation of fibroblasts formed the blastema. Gerber et al. developed transgenic reporter animals to compare periskeletal cell and fibroblast contributions to regeneration. Callus-forming periskeletal cells extended existing bone, but fibroblasts built new limb segments. Single-cell transcriptomics and Brainbow-based lineage tracing revealed the lack of a preexisting stem cell. Instead, the heterogeneous population of fibroblasts lost their adult features to form a multipotent skeletal progenitor expressing the embryonic limb program.

Science, this issue p. eaaq0681

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