Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado

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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)
Many long-lived organisms, including humans, can regenerate some adult tissues lost to physical injury or disease. Much of the previous research on mechanisms of regeneration has focused on adult stem cells, which give rise to new tissue necessary for the replacement of missing body parts. Here we report that apoptosis of differentiated cells complements(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)
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 planarian Schmidtea mediterranea is rapidly emerging as a model organism for the study of regeneration, tissue homeostasis and stem cell biology. The recent sequencing, assembly and annotation of its genome are expected to further buoy the biomedical importance of this organism. In order to make the extensive data associated with the genome sequence(More)
Multicellular organisms possessing relatively long life spans are subjected to diverse, constant, and often intense intrinsic and extrinsic challenges to their survival. Animal and plant tissues wear out as part of normal physiological functions and can be lost to predators, disease, and injury. Both kingdoms survive this wide variety of insults by(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)
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)
Planarian flatworms regenerate every organ after amputation. Adult pluripotent stem cells drive this ability, but how injury activates and directs stem cells into the appropriate lineages is unclear. Here we describe a single-organ regeneration assay in which ejection of the planarian pharynx is selectively induced by brief exposure of animals to sodium(More)