Distal regeneration involves the age dependent activity of branchial sac stem cells in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis
Jeffery, William R.
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Tunicates have high capacities for regeneration but the underlying mechanisms and their relationship to life cycle progression are not well understood. Here we investigate the regeneration of distal structures in the ascidian tunicate Ciona intestinalis. Analysis of regenerative potential along the proximal−distal body axis indicated that distal organs, such as the siphons, their pigmented sensory organs, and the neural complex, could only be replaced from body fragments containing the branchial sac. Distal regeneration involves the formation of a blastema composed of cells that undergo cell proliferation prior to differentiation and cells that differentiate without cell proliferation. Both cell types originate in the branchial sac and appear in the blastema at different times after distal injury. Whereas the branchial sac stem cells are present in young animals, they are depleted in old animals that have lost their regeneration capacity. Thus Ciona adults contain a population of age-related stem cells located in the branchial sac that are a source of precursors for distal body regeneration.
© The Author(s), 2014. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Regeneration 2 (2015): 1-18, doi:10.1002/reg2.26.
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