Send to

Choose Destination
Elife. 2018 Feb 6;7. pii: e30657. doi: 10.7554/eLife.30657.

Wilms Tumor 1b defines a wound-specific sheath cell subpopulation associated with notochord repair.

Author information

MRC Human Genetics Unit, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
CRUK Edinburgh Centre, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Hubrecht Institute - KNAW & UMC Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands.
Faculty of Medicine, Institute for Cardiovascular Organogenesis and Regeneration, WWU Münster, Münster, Germany.
CiM Cluster of Excellence, Münster, Germany.
Department of Biology, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, United States.
Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan.
Department of Molecular Genetics, Leibniz Institute for Age Research-Fritz Lipmann Institute, Jena, Germany.
Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, Germany.
Contributed equally


Regenerative therapy for degenerative spine disorders requires the identification of cells that can slow down and possibly reverse degenerative processes. Here, we identify an unanticipated wound-specific notochord sheath cell subpopulation that expresses Wilms Tumor (WT) 1b following injury in zebrafish. We show that localized damage leads to Wt1b expression in sheath cells, and that wt1b+cells migrate into the wound to form a stopper-like structure, likely to maintain structural integrity. Wt1b+sheath cells are distinct in expressing cartilage and vacuolar genes, and in repressing a Wt1b-p53 transcriptional programme. At the wound, wt1b+and entpd5+ cells constitute separate, tightly-associated subpopulations. Surprisingly, wt1b expression at the site of injury is maintained even into adult stages in developing vertebrae, which form in an untypical manner via a cartilage intermediate. Given that notochord cells are retained in adult intervertebral discs, the identification of novel subpopulations may have important implications for regenerative spine disorder treatments.


Wilms Tumor 1; developmental biology; heterogeneity; notochord; sheath cells; stem cells; vertebrae; wound healing; zebrafish

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center