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Gene Expr Patterns. 2003 Aug;3(4):489-95.

Gtwnt-5 a member of the wnt family expressed in a subpopulation of the nervous system of the planarian Girardia tigrina.

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Departament de Genètica, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Diagonal 645, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.


Wnt proteins are a family of highly conserved secreted glycoproteins that regulate cell-to-cell interactions during embryogenesis. They act as signaling molecules and take part in many crucial decisions throughout the development of organisms ranging from Hydra to human. We have isolated and characterized the expression of a member of the Wnt family, Gtwnt-5 gene in the planarian Girardia tigrina. Planarians are free-living members (Class Turbellaria) of the Phylum Platyhelminthes. They are best known for their high regenerative capabilities. These organisms have an apparently simple central nervous system (CNS) from a morphological perspective, with cephalic ganglia in the dorsal anterior region and two ventral main nerve cords along the body. However, a large number of planarian neural genes have recently been identified and therefore it is possible to define different molecular and functional domains in the planarian brain. The present study shows expression of Gtwnt-5 in a subpopulation of the whole CNS of intact organisms, being activated during regeneration. Gtwnt-5 reveals a differential spatial pattern: the expression is preferentially found in the most external region of the CNS. In addition, a kind of iterative pattern has been observed at the ganglia level, suggesting that the planarian brain might not be a continuous structure but compartmented or regionalized. Gtwnt-5 signal is also detected at the sensors of the worm: at the auricle level and all around the cephalic periphery. All these data provide us with a new neural marker for the planarian brain, and can be used to follow regeneration of the CNS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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