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Nature communications

Acoel regeneration mechanisms indicate an ancient role for muscle in regenerative patterning.


PMID 29084955

Abstract

Positional information is required for animal regeneration, yet how it is harbored in adult tissues is poorly understood. In planarians, positional control genes (PCGs) control regeneration outcomes and are regionally expressed predominately in the musculature. Acoels are early diverging bilaterally symmetric animals, having separated from other bilaterians > 550 million years ago. Here, we find that PCGs in the acoel Hofstenia miamia are expressed together and specifically in a primary differentiated cell type: muscle. The vast majority of Hofstenia muscle cells in regions tested express PCGs, suggesting positional information is a major feature of muscle. PCG expression domains are dynamic in muscle after injury, consistent with known PCG roles in guiding regeneration. These data demonstrate an instructive positional role for Hofstenia muscle and this similarity with planarians suggests mesodermal muscle originated at the base of the Bilateria not only for contraction, but also as the source of positional information guiding regeneration.

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