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We have identified two genes, smedwi-1 and smedwi-2, expressed in the dividing adult stem cells (neoblasts) of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Both genes encode proteins that belong to the Argonaute/PIWI protein family and that share highest homology with those proteins defined by Drosophila PIWI. RNA interference (RNAi) of smedwi-2 blocks(More)
The principles underlying regeneration in planarians have been explored for over 100 years through surgical manipulations and cellular observations. Planarian regeneration involves the generation of new tissue at the wound site via cell proliferation (blastema formation), and the remodeling of pre-existing tissues to restore symmetry and proportion(More)
After amputation, freshwater planarians properly regenerate a head or tail from the resulting anterior or posterior wound. The mechanisms that differentiate anterior from posterior and direct the replacement of the appropriate missing body parts are unknown. We found that in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, RNA interference (RNAi) of beta-catenin or(More)
The Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway plays multiple essential roles during metazoan development, homeostasis, and disease. Although core protein components are highly conserved, the variations in Hh signal transduction mechanisms exhibited by existing model systems (Drosophila, fish, and mammals) are difficult to understand. We characterized the Hh pathway(More)
The study of planarian regeneration may help us to understand how we can rebuild organs and tissues after injury, disease or ageing. The robust regenerative abilities of planarians are based upon a population of totipotent stem cells (neoblasts), and among the organs regenerated by these animals is a well-organized central nervous system. In recent years,(More)
The centrosome, a cytoplasmic organelle formed by cylinder-shaped centrioles surrounded by a microtubule-organizing matrix, is a hallmark of animal cells. The centrosome is conserved and essential for the development of all animal species described so far. Here, we show that planarians, and possibly other flatworms, lack centrosomes. In planarians,(More)
Cystic kidney diseases (CKDs) affect millions of people worldwide. The defining pathological features are fluid-filled cysts developing from nephric tubules due to defective flow sensing, cell proliferation and differentiation. The underlying molecular mechanisms, however, remain poorly understood, and the derived excretory systems of established(More)
Freshwater planarian flatworms are capable of regenerating complete organisms from tiny fragments of their bodies; the basis for this regenerative prowess is an experimentally accessible stem cell population that is present in the adult planarian. The study of these organisms, classic experimental models for investigating metazoan regeneration, has been(More)
Planarians can be cut into irregularly shaped fragments capable of regenerating new and complete organisms. Such regenerative capacities involve a robust ability to restore bilateral symmetry. We have identified three genes needed for bilaterally asymmetric fragments to regenerate missing body parts. These genes are candidate components of a signaling(More)
The regulation of scale and proportion in living organisms is an intriguing and enduring problem of biology. Regulatory mechanisms for controlling body size and proportion are clearly illustrated by the regeneration of missing body parts after amputation, in which the newly regenerated tissues ultimately attain a size that is anatomically congruent with the(More)