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Dev Cell. 2012 Oct 16;23(4):691-704. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2012.09.008.

An RNAi screen reveals intestinal regulators of branching morphogenesis, differentiation, and stem cell proliferation in planarians.

Author information

1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.

Abstract

Planarians grow and regenerate organs by coordinating proliferation and differentiation of pluripotent stem cells with remodeling of postmitotic tissues. Understanding how these processes are orchestrated requires characterizing cell-type-specific gene expression programs and their regulation during regeneration and homeostasis. To this end, we analyzed the expression profile of planarian intestinal phagocytes, cells responsible for digestion and nutrient storage/distribution. Utilizing RNA interference, we identified cytoskeletal regulators required for intestinal branching morphogenesis and a modulator of bioactive sphingolipid metabolism, ceramide synthase, required for the production of functional phagocytes. Additionally, we found that a gut-enriched homeobox transcription factor, nkx-2.2, is required for somatic stem cell proliferation, suggesting a niche-like role for phagocytes. Identification of evolutionarily conserved regulators of intestinal branching, differentiation, and stem cell dynamics demonstrates the utility of the planarian digestive system as a model for elucidating the mechanisms controlling postembryonic organogenesis.

PMID:
23079596
PMCID:
PMC3521571
DOI:
10.1016/j.devcel.2012.09.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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