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Dev Dyn. 2000 Aug;218(4):603-14.

An MCM2-related gene is expressed in proliferating cells of intact and regenerating planarians.

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1
Dipartimento di Fisiologia e Biochimica, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Abstract

The minichromosome maintenance (MCM2-7) gene family encodes conserved proteins, which are essential for DNA replication licensing in eukaryotes. They are abundant in proliferating cells, and specific MCM transcripts undergo cell cycle-dependent oscillations. Here we report the characterization of a planarian MCM2 homologue, DjMCM2, which represents the first molecular marker for detecting proliferating cells in planarians. DjMCM2-expressing cells are broadly distributed in the mesenchymal space of the body, with the exception of the cephalic region, and are preferentially accumulated in the peripheral area of the dorso-lateral mesenchyme, along the anteroposterior axis. During regeneration, no DjMCM2 transcripts are observed within the blastema, according to the current view that this structure is not a proliferation site in planarians. Spatio-temporal changes in DjMCM2 RNA expression pattern in the stump parallel blastema growth, coordinately with the orientation of the cut. X-ray irradiation results in the disappearance of DjMCM2 expression, thus confirming that these transcripts are detected specifically in proliferating cells, visualized as neoblasts by in situ hybridization in dissociated cells. In addition to neoblasts, rare large DjMCM2-expressing cells are observed in macerates of tissues excised just below the wound, suggesting that cell types other than neoblasts may be sporadically recruited for proliferation in planarians.

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