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)
Planarians have been used as a model to study development and regeneration for more than 200 years. Research on these animals has traditionally focused on surgical and pharmacological manipulations. Recently, the dissection of planarians has become more molecular in nature. The isolation of thousands of expressed sequence tags and the introduction of in(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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Cell differentiation is an essential process for the development, growth, reproduction, and longevity of all multicellular organisms, and its regulation has been the focus of intense investigation for the past four decades. The study of natural and induced stem cells has ushered an age of re-examination of what it means to be a stem or a differentiated(More)