Cell signaling and transcription factor genes expressed during whole body regeneration in a colonial chordate

Yuval Rinkevich, Baruch Rinkevich, Ram Reshef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. The restoration of adults from fragments of blood vessels in botryllid ascidians (termed whole body regeneration [WBR]) represents an inimitable event in the chordates, which is poorly understood on the mechanistic level. Results. To elucidate mechanisms underlying this phenomenon, a subtracted EST library for early WBR stages was previously assembled, revealing 76 putative genes belonging to major signaling pathways, including Notch/Delta, JAK/STAT, protein kinases, nuclear receptors, Ras oncogene family members, G-Protein coupled receptor (GPCR) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) signaling. RT-PCR on selected transcripts documented specific up-regulation in only regenerating fragments, pointing to a broad activation of these signaling pathways at onset of WBR. The followed-up expression pattern of seven representative transcripts from JAK/STAT signaling (Bl-STAT), the Ras oncogene family (Bl-Rap1A, Bl-Rab-33), the protein kinase family (Bl-Mnk), Bl-Cnot, Bl-Slit and Bl-Bax inhibitor, revealed systemic and site specific activations during WBR in a sub-population of circulatory cells. Conclusion. WBR in the non-vertebrate chordate Botrylloides leachi is a multifaceted phenomenon, presided by a complex array of cell signaling and transcription factors. Above results, provide a first insight into the whole genome molecular machinery of this unique regeneration process, and reveal the broad participation of cell signaling and transcription factors in the process. While regeneration involves the participation of specific cell populations, WBR signals are systemically expressed at the organism level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100
JournalBMC Developmental Biology
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank E. Moiseeva for excellent histological assistance, Noga Guttman-Raviv, J. Douek and G. Paz for assistance in manuscript preparation. This study was supported by a grant from the Marine Genomics Europe Network of Excellence (EDD Node; BR and RR), from the United States-Israel Bi-National Science Foundation (2003-010; BR), from the Weisz Gerontology Research Fund (2007; RR) and partly from the Israel Academy of Science (550-06; BR; 1326-08; RR).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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