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Dev Biol. 2000 Nov 15;227(2):720-33.

Regulation and regeneration in the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi.

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The Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA.


Lobate ctenophores (tentaculates) generally exhibit a remarkable ability to regenerate missing structures as adults. On the other hand, their embryos exhibit a highly mosaic behavior when cut into halves or when specific cells are ablated. These deficient embryos do not exhibit embryonic regulation, and generate incomplete adult body plans. Under certain conditions, however, these deficient animals are subsequently able to replace the missing structures during the adult phase in a process referred to as "post-regeneration." We have determined that successful post-regeneration can be predicted on the basis of a modified polar coordinate model, and the rules of intercalary regeneration, as defined by French et al. (V. French, P. J. Bryant, and S. V. Bryant, 1976, Science 193, 969-981.) The model makes certain assumptions about the organization of the ctenophore body plan that fit well with what we have determined on the basis of cell lineage fates maps, and their twofold rotational ("biradial") symmetry. The results suggest that cells composing the ctenophore adult body plan possess positional information, which is utilized to reconstruct the adult body plan. More specifically, we have found that the progeny of three specific cell lineages are required to support post-regeneration of the comb rows (the e(1), e(2), and m(1) micromeres). Furthermore, post-regeneration of the comb rows involves a suite of cell-cell inductive interactions, which are similar to those that take place during their embryonic formation. The significance of these findings is discussed in terms of the organization of the ctenophore body plan, and the mechanisms involved in cell fate specification. This situation is also contrasted with that of the atentaculate ctenophores, which are unable to undergo post-regeneration.

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