Nature communications

A developmentally regulated switch from stem cells to dedifferentiation for limb muscle regeneration in newts.

PMID 27026263


The newt, a urodele amphibian, is able to repeatedly regenerate its limbs throughout its lifespan, whereas other amphibians deteriorate or lose their ability to regenerate limbs after metamorphosis. It remains to be determined whether such an exceptional ability of the newt is either attributed to a strategy, which controls regeneration in larvae, or on a novel one invented by the newt after metamorphosis. Here we report that the newt switches the cellular mechanism for limb regeneration from a stem/progenitor-based mechanism (larval mode) to a dedifferentiation-based one (adult mode) as it transits beyond metamorphosis. We demonstrate that larval newts use stem/progenitor cells such as satellite cells for new muscle in a regenerated limb, whereas metamorphosed newts recruit muscle fibre cells in the stump for the same purpose. We conclude that the newt has evolved novel strategies to secure its regenerative ability of the limbs after metamorphosis.