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Dev Cell. 2017 Feb 6;40(3):248-263.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.12.024.

Antagonistic Self-Organizing Patterning Systems Control Maintenance and Regeneration of the Anteroposterior Axis in Planarians.

Author information

1
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Pfotenhauerstrasse 108, 01307 Dresden, Germany.
2
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Nöthnitzer Straße 38, 01187 Dresden, Germany; Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden, Technische Universität Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany.
3
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Nöthnitzer Straße 38, 01187 Dresden, Germany.
4
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Pfotenhauerstrasse 108, 01307 Dresden, Germany. Electronic address: rink@mpi-cbg.de.

Abstract

Planarian flatworms maintain their body plan in the face of constant internal turnover and can regenerate from arbitrary tissue fragments. Both phenomena require self-maintaining and self-organizing patterning mechanisms, the molecular mechanisms of which remain poorly understood. We show that a morphogenic gradient of canonical Wnt signaling patterns gene expression along the planarian anteroposterior (A/P) axis. Our results demonstrate that gradient formation likely occurs autonomously in the tail and that an autoregulatory module of Wnt-mediated Wnt expression both shapes the gradient at steady state and governs its re-establishment during regeneration. Functional antagonism between the tail Wnt gradient and an unknown head patterning system further determines the spatial proportions of the planarian A/P axis and mediates mutually exclusive molecular fate choices during regeneration. Overall, our results suggest that the planarian A/P axis is patterned by self-organizing patterning systems deployed from either end that are functionally coupled by mutual antagonism.

KEYWORDS:

Turing pattern; Wnt signaling; morphogen gradient; patterning; planaria; regeneration; self-organization

PMID:
28171748
DOI:
10.1016/j.devcel.2016.12.024
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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