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Development. 2010 Apr;137(7):1055-65. doi: 10.1242/dev.042564.

Smed-SmB, a member of the LSm protein superfamily, is essential for chromatoid body organization and planarian stem cell proliferation.

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University of Barcelona, Department of Genetics, IBUB, Av. Diagonal 645, 08028, Barcelona, Spain.

Erratum in

  • Development. 2010 May;137(9):1583.


Planarians are an ideal model system to study in vivo the dynamics of adult pluripotent stem cells. However, our knowledge of the factors necessary for regulating the 'stemness' of the neoblasts, the adult stem cells of planarians, is sparse. Here, we report on the characterization of the first planarian member of the LSm protein superfamily, Smed-SmB, which is expressed in stem cells and neurons in Schmidtea mediterranea. LSm proteins are highly conserved key players of the splicing machinery. Our study shows that Smed-SmB protein, which is localized in the nucleus and the chromatoid body of stem cells, is required to safeguard the proliferative ability of the neoblasts. The chromatoid body, a cytoplasmatic ribonucleoprotein complex, is an essential regulator of the RNA metabolism required for the maintenance of metazoan germ cells. However, planarian neoblasts and neurons also rely on its functions. Remarkably, Smed-SmB dsRNA-mediated knockdown results in a rapid loss of organization of the chromatoid body, an impairment of the ability to post-transcriptionally process the transcripts of Smed-CycB, and a severe proliferative failure of the neoblasts. This chain of events leads to a quick depletion of the neoblast pool, resulting in a lethal phenotype for both regenerating and intact animals. In summary, our results suggest that Smed-SmB is an essential component of the chromatoid body, crucial to ensure a proper RNA metabolism and essential for stem cell proliferation.

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