Regeneration of lost tissues depends on the precise interpretation of molecular signals that control and coordinate the onset of proliferation, cellular differentiation and cell death. However, the nature of those molecular signals and the mechanisms that integrate the cellular responses remain largely unknown. The planarian flatworm is a unique model in which regeneration and tissue renewal can be comprehensively studied in vivo. The presence of a population of adult pluripotent stem cells combined with the ability to decode signaling after wounding enable planarians to regenerate a complete, correctly proportioned animal within a few days after any kind of amputation, and to adapt their size to nutritional changes without compromising functionality. Here, we demonstrate that the stress-activated c-jun-NH2-kinase (JNK) links wound-induced apoptosis to the stem cell response during planarian regeneration. We show that JNK modulates the expression of wound-related genes, triggers apoptosis and attenuates the onset of mitosis in stem cells specifically after tissue loss. Furthermore, in pre-existing body regions, JNK activity is required to establish a positive balance between cell death and stem cell proliferation to enable tissue renewal, remodeling and the maintenance of proportionality. During homeostatic degrowth, JNK RNAi blocks apoptosis, resulting in impaired organ remodeling and rescaling. Our findings indicate that JNK-dependent apoptotic cell death is crucial to coordinate tissue renewal and remodeling required to regenerate and to maintain a correctly proportioned animal. Hence, JNK might act as a hub, translating wound signals into apoptotic cell death, controlled stem cell proliferation and differentiation, all of which are required to coordinate regeneration and tissue renewal.
A diverse family of cytoskeletal dynein motors powers various cellular transport systems, including axonemal dyneins generating the force for ciliary and flagellar beating essential to movement of extracellular fluids and of cells through fluid. Multisubunit outer dynein arm (ODA) motor complexes, produced and preassembled in the cytosol, are transported to the ciliary or flagellar compartment and anchored into the axonemal microtubular scaffold via the ODA docking complex (ODA-DC) system. In humans, defects in ODA assembly are the major cause of primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), an inherited disorder of ciliary and flagellar dysmotility characterized by chronic upper and lower respiratory infections and defects in laterality. Here, by combined high-throughput mapping and sequencing, we identified CCDC151 loss-of-function mutations in five affected individuals from three independent families whose cilia showed a complete loss of ODAs and severely impaired ciliary beating. Consistent with the laterality defects observed in these individuals, we found Ccdc151 expressed in vertebrate left-right organizers. Homozygous zebrafish ccdc151(ts272a) and mouse Ccdc151(Snbl) mutants display a spectrum of situs defects associated with complex heart defects. We demonstrate that CCDC151 encodes an axonemal coiled coil protein, mutations in which abolish assembly of CCDC151 into respiratory cilia and cause a failure in axonemal assembly of the ODA component DNAH5 and the ODA-DC-associated components CCDC114 and ARMC4. CCDC151-deficient zebrafish, planaria, and mice also display ciliary dysmotility accompanied by ODA loss. Furthermore, CCDC151 coimmunoprecipitates CCDC114 and thus appears to be a highly evolutionarily conserved ODA-DC-related protein involved in mediating assembly of both ODAs and their axonemal docking machinery onto ciliary microtubules.
Planarians can regenerate their head within days. This process depends on the direction of adult stem cells to wound sites and the orchestration of their progenitors to commit to appropriate lineages and to arrange into patterned tissues. We identified a zinc finger transcription factor, Smed-ZicA, as a downstream target of Smed-FoxD, a Forkhead transcription factor required for head regeneration. Smed-zicA and Smed-FoxD are co-expressed with the Wnt inhibitor notum and the Activin inhibitor follistatin in a cluster of cells at the anterior-most tip of the regenerating head - the anterior regeneration pole - and in surrounding stem cell progeny. Depletion of Smed-zicA and Smed-FoxD by RNAi abolishes notum and follistatin expression at the pole and inhibits head formation downstream of initial polarity decisions. We suggest a model in which ZicA and FoxD transcription factors synergize to control the formation of Notum- and Follistatin-producing anterior pole cells. Pole formation might constitute an early step in regeneration, resulting in a signaling center that orchestrates cellular events in the growing tissue.
In contrast to adult vertebrates, which have limited capacities for neurogenesis, adult planarians undergo constitutive cellular turnover during homeostasis and are even able to regenerate a whole brain after decapitation. This enormous plasticity derives from pluripotent stem cells residing in the planarian body in large numbers. It is still obscure how these stem cells are programmed for differentiation into specific cell lineages and how lineage identity is maintained. Here we identify a Pitx transcription factor of crucial importance for planarian regeneration. In addition to patterning defects that are co-dependent on the LIM homeobox transcription factor gene islet1, which is expressed with pitx at anterior and posterior regeneration poles, RNAi against pitx results in islet1-independent specific loss of serotonergic (SN) neurons during regeneration. Besides its expression in terminally differentiated SN neurons we found pitx in stem cell progeny committed to the SN fate. Also, intact pitx RNAi animals gradually lose SN markers, a phenotype that depends neither on increased apoptosis nor on stem cell-based turnover or transdifferentiation into other neurons. We propose that pitx is a terminal selector gene for SN neurons in planarians that controls not only their maturation but also their identity by regulating the expression of the Serotonin production and transport machinery. Finally, we made use of this function of pitx and compared the transcriptomes of regenerating planarians with and without functional SN neurons, identifying at least three new neuronal targets of Pitx.
Planarian regeneration depends on the presence of pluripotent stem cells in the adult. We developed an in vivo stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) protocol in planarians to identify proteins that are enriched in planarian stem cells. Through a comparison of SILAC proteomes of normal and stem cell-depleted planarians and of a stem cell-enriched population of sorted cells, we identified hundreds of stem cell proteins. One of these is an ortholog of nuclear receptor coactivator-5 (Ncoa5/CIA), which is known to regulate estrogen-receptor-mediated transcription in human cells. We show that Ncoa5 is essential for the maintenance of the pluripotent stem cell population in planarians and that a putative mouse ortholog is expressed in pluripotent cells of the embryo. Our study thus identifies a conserved component of pluripotent stem cells, demonstrating that planarians, in particular, when combined with in vivo SILAC, are a powerful model in stem cell research.
Planarian flatworms can regenerate their head, including a functional brain, within less than a week. Despite the enormous potential of these animals for medical research and regenerative medicine, the mechanisms of regeneration and the molecules involved remain largely unknown.
Planarian flatworms are an exception among bilaterians in that they possess a large pool of adult stem cells that enables them to promptly regenerate any part of their body, including the brain. Although known for two centuries for their remarkable regenerative capabilities, planarians have only recently emerged as an attractive model for studying regeneration and stem cell biology. This revival is due in part to the availability of a sequenced genome and the development of new technologies, such as RNA interference and next-generation sequencing, which facilitate studies of planarian regeneration at the molecular level. Here, we highlight why planarians are an exciting tool in the study of regeneration and its underlying stem cell biology in vivo, and discuss the potential promises and current limitations of this model organism for stem cell research and regenerative medicine.
Wnt/Wg signaling pathways are of key importance during development and disease. Canonical and noncanonical Wnt/Frizzled (Fz) pathways share a limited number of signaling components that are part of the membrane proximal signaling complex. In Drosophila, Fz and Dishevelled (Dsh) are the only two components known to be involved in both Wnt/beta-catenin and planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling. PCP signaling is required for the planar polarization of epithelial cells, which occurs, for instance, during hair orientation and gastrulation in vertebrates. Both pathways have been studied intensively in the past years. However, it still remains unresolved whether additional components are required at the receptor complex. Here we identify the Drosophila homolog of the mammalian prorenin receptor (dPRR) as a conserved modulator of canonical Wnt/beta-cat and Fz/PCP signaling. We show that dPRR depletion affects Wg target genes in cultured cells and in vivo. PRR is required for epithelial planar polarity in Drosophila and for convergent extension movements in Xenopus gastrulae. Furthermore, dPRR binds to Fz and Fz2 receptors. In summary, our data suggest that dPRR has an evolutionarily conserved role at the receptor level for activation of canonical and noncanonical Wnt/Fz signaling pathways.
Low-density lipoprotein receptor related proteins 5 and 6 (LRP5/6) are transmembrane receptors that initiate Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. Phosphorylation of PPPSP motifs in the LRP6 cytoplasmic domain is crucial for signal transduction. Using a kinome-wide RNAi screen, we show that PPPSP phosphorylation requires the Drosophila Cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) L63. L63 and its vertebrate homolog PFTK are regulated by the membrane tethered G2/M Cyclin, Cyclin Y, which mediates binding to and phosphorylation of LRP6. As a consequence, LRP6 phosphorylation and Wnt/beta-catenin signaling are under cell cycle control and peak at G2/M phase; knockdown of the mitotic regulator CDC25/string, which results in G2/M arrest, enhances Wnt signaling in a Cyclin Y-dependent manner. In Xenopus embryos, Cyclin Y is required in vivo for LRP6 phosphorylation, maternal Wnt signaling, and Wnt-dependent anteroposterior embryonic patterning. G2/M priming of LRP6 by a Cyclin/CDK complex introduces an unexpected new layer of regulation of Wnt signaling.
Planarians can regenerate a whole animal from only a small piece of their body, and have become an important model for stem cell biology. To identify regenerative processes dependent on Wnt growth factors in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea (Smed), we analyzed RNAi phenotypes of Evi, a transmembrane protein specifically required for the secretion of Wnt ligands. We show that, during regeneration, Smed-evi loss-of-function prevents posterior identity, leading to two-headed planarians that resemble Smed-beta-catenin1 RNAi animals. In addition, we observe regeneration defects of the nervous system that are not found after Smed-beta-catenin1 RNAi. By systematic knockdown of all putative Smed Wnts in regenerating planarians, we identify Smed-WntP-1 and Smed-Wnt11-2 as the putative posterior organizers, and demonstrate that Smed-Wnt5 is a regulator of neuronal organization and growth. Thus, our study provides evidence that planarian Wnts are major regulators of regeneration, and that they signal through beta-catenin-dependent and -independent pathways.
Wnt signalling has important roles during development and in many diseases. As morphogens, hydrophobic Wnt proteins exert their function over a distance to induce patterning and cell differentiation decisions. Recent studies have identified several factors that are required for the secretion of Wnt proteins; however, how Wnts travel in the extracellular space remains a largely unresolved question. Here we show that Wnts are secreted on exosomes both during Drosophila development and in human cells. We demonstrate that exosomes carry Wnts on their surface to induce Wnt signalling activity in target cells. Together with the cargo receptor Evi/WIs, Wnts are transported through endosomal compartments onto exosomes, a process that requires the R-SNARE Ykt6. Our study demonstrates an evolutionarily conserved functional role of extracellular vesicular transport of Wnt proteins.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.