1. Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
  2. Neuroscience
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A functional genomics screen in planarians reveals regulators of whole-brain regeneration

  1. Rachel H Roberts-Galbraith  Is a corresponding author
  2. John L Brubacher
  3. Phillip A Newmark  Is a corresponding author
  1. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States
  2. Canadian Mennonite University, Canada
  3. University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2016;5:e17002 doi: 10.7554/eLife.17002

Abstract

Planarians regenerate all body parts after injury, including the central nervous system (CNS). We capitalized on this distinctive trait and completed a gene expression-guided functional screen to identify factors that regulate diverse aspects of neural regeneration in Schmidtea mediterranea. Our screen revealed molecules that influence neural cell fates, support the formation of a major connective hub, and promote reestablishment of chemosensory behavior. We also identified genes that encode signaling molecules with roles in head regeneration, including some that are produced in a previously uncharacterized parenchymal population of cells. Finally, we explored genes downregulated during planarian regeneration and characterized, for the first time, glial cells in the planarian CNS that respond to injury by repressing several transcripts. Collectively, our studies revealed diverse molecules and cell types that underlie an animal's ability to regenerate its brain.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Rachel H Roberts-Galbraith

    Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, United States
    For correspondence
    rhrgalb@illinois.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-2682-2366
  2. John L Brubacher

    Department of Biology, Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, Canada
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-2346-9245
  3. Phillip A Newmark

    Department of Zoology, Morgridge Institute for Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, United States
    For correspondence
    pnewmark@morgridge.org
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-0793-022X

Funding

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

  • Phillip A Newmark

Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research

  • Rachel H Roberts-Galbraith

Faculty Research Grant from Canadian Mennonite University

  • John L Brubacher

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: April 16, 2016
  2. Accepted: September 2, 2016
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: September 9, 2016 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: October 7, 2016 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2016, Roberts-Galbraith et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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