Gene regulatory programmes of tissue regeneration.
Regeneration is the process by which organisms replace lost or damaged tissue, and regenerative capacity can vary greatly among species, tissues and life stages. Tissue regeneration shares certain hallmarks of embryonic development, in that lineage-specific factors can be repurposed upon injury to initiate morphogenesis; however, many differences exist between regeneration and embryogenesis. Recent studies of regenerating tissues in laboratory model organisms - such as acoel worms, frogs, fish and mice - have revealed that chromatin structure, dedicated enhancers and transcriptional networks are regulated in a context-specific manner to control key gene expression programmes. A deeper mechanistic understanding of the gene regulatory networks of regeneration pathways might ultimately enable their targeted reactivation as a means to treat human injuries and degenerative diseases. In this Review, we consider the regeneration of body parts across a range of tissues and species to explore common themes and potentially exploitable elements.
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