Walker Sarah E.

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Walker
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Sarah E.
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  • Article
    Regulation of stem cell identity by miR-200a during spinal cord regeneration
    (Company of Biologists, 2022-02-14) Walker, Sarah E. ; Sabin, Keith Z. ; Gearhart, Micah D. ; Yamamoto, Kenta
    Axolotls are an important model organism for multiple types of regeneration, including functional spinal cord regeneration. Remarkably, axolotls can repair their spinal cord after a small lesion injury and can also regenerate their entire tail following amputation. Several classical signaling pathways that are used during development are reactivated during regeneration, but how this is regulated remains a mystery. We have previously identified miR-200a as a key factor that promotes successful spinal cord regeneration. Here, using RNA-seq analysis, we discovered that the inhibition of miR-200a results in an upregulation of the classical mesodermal marker brachyury in spinal cord cells after injury. However, these cells still express the neural stem cell marker sox2. In vivo cell tracking allowed us to determine that these cells can give rise to cells of both the neural and mesoderm lineage. Additionally, we found that miR-200a can directly regulate brachyury via a seed sequence in the 3′UTR of the gene. Our data indicate that miR-200a represses mesodermal cell fate after a small lesion injury in the spinal cord when only glial cells and neurons need to be replaced.
  • Article
    Spinal cord regeneration—the origins of progenitor cells for functional rebuilding
    (Elsevier, 2022-05-24) Walker, Sarah E. ; Echeverri, Karen
    The spinal cord is one of the most important structures for all vertebrate animals as it connects almost all parts of the body to the brain. Injury to the mammalian spinal cord has devastating consequences, resulting in paralysis with little to no hope of recovery. In contrast, other vertebrate animals have been known for centuries to be capable of functionally regenerating large lesions in the spinal cord. Here, we will review the current knowledge of spinal cord regeneration and recent work in different proregenerative animals that has begun to shed light on the cellular and molecular mechanisms these animals use to direct cells to rebuild a complex, functional spinal cord.