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Commun Integr Biol. 2011 Jul;4(4):498-500. doi: 10.4161/cib.4.4.15753. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

Organizing the DV axis during planarian regeneration.

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Departament de Genètica; Facultat de Biologia and Institut de Biomedicina de la Universitat de Barcelona (IBUB); Catalunya, Spain.


During regeneration, lost structures are rebuilt and perfectly integrated within the remaining non-injured tissues. This fascinating process captured the attention of one of the founders of modern genetics, T.H. Morgan. He was particularly interested in understanding regeneration in freshwater planarians, which can regenerate a whole animal from a small piece of their bodies. He performed numerous experiments to understand how polarity is re-established such that an anterior-facing wound regenerates a head whereas a posterior-facing wound regenerates a tail. However, it has not been until more than 100 years later that the molecules required to determine axial polarity have been identified. Several studies have now shown that the Wnt/β-catenin and Hedgehog pathways are required for anteroposterior axis specification, whereas the establishment of the planarian dorsoventral (DV) axis relies on the Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) pathway. Two recent papers have now uncovered additional conserved (anti-dorsalizing morphogenetic protein) and novel (noggin-like genes) elements that regulate planarian DV axis regeneration. Here, we summarize those results and present new data and hypotheses to explain the role that noggin-like genes might play.


ADMP; BMP; dorsoventral axis; nervous system; neurogenesis; noggin; noggin-like; patterning; planarian; regeneration

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