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Beta-catenin defines head versus tail identity during planarian regeneration and homeostasis.

Science (New York, N.Y.) | Jan 18, 2008

After amputation, freshwater planarians properly regenerate a head or tail from the resulting anterior or posterior wound. The mechanisms that differentiate anterior from posterior and direct the replacement of the appropriate missing body parts are unknown. We found that in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, RNA interference (RNAi) of beta-catenin or dishevelled causes the inappropriate regeneration of a head instead of a tail at posterior amputations. Conversely, RNAi of the beta-catenin antagonist adenomatous polyposis coli results in the regeneration of a tail at anterior wounds. In addition, the silencing of beta-catenin is sufficient to transform the tail of uncut adult animals into a head. We suggest that beta-catenin functions as a molecular switch to specify and maintain anteroposterior identity during regeneration and homeostasis in planarians.

Pubmed ID: 18063757 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing | Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein | Amino Acid Sequence | Animals | Body Patterning | Dishevelled Proteins | Gene Expression Profiling | Genes, APC | Head | Helminth Proteins | Homeostasis | Molecular Sequence Data | Phosphoproteins | Planarians | RNA Interference | Regeneration | Signal Transduction | Tail | beta Catenin

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Associated grants

  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: T32CA093247
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: F32GM082016
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: F32 GM082016
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: R0-1 GM57260
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: R01 GM057260
  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: T32 CA093247
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: R01 GM057260-08

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