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Development. 2004 Jun;131(11):2669-79.

Cell lineage tracing during Xenopus tail regeneration.

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  • 1Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK.


The tail of the Xenopus tadpole will regenerate following amputation, and all three of the main axial structures - the spinal cord, the notochord and the segmented myotomes - are found in the regenerated tail. We have investigated the cellular origin of each of these three tissue types during regeneration. We produced Xenopus laevis embryos transgenic for the CMV (Simian Cytomegalovirus) promoter driving GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) ubiquitously throughout the embryo. Single tissues were then specifically labelled by making grafts at the neurula stage from transgenic donors to unlabelled hosts. When the hosts have developed to tadpoles, they carry a region of the appropriate tissue labelled with GFP. These tails were amputated through the labelled region and the distribution of labelled cells in the regenerate was followed. We also labelled myofibres using the Cre-lox method. The results show that the spinal cord and the notochord regenerate from the same tissue type in the stump, with no labelling of other tissues. In the case of the muscle, we show that the myofibres of the regenerate arise from satellite cells and not from the pre-existing myofibres. This shows that metaplasia between differentiated cell types does not occur, and that the process of Xenopus tail regeneration is more akin to tissue renewal in mammals than to urodele tail regeneration.

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