New regulators of vertebrate appendage regeneration.
Appendage regeneration is a complex and fascinating biological process exhibited in vertebrates by urodele amphibians and teleost fish. A current focus in the field is to identify new molecules that control formation and function of the regeneration blastema, a mass of proliferative mesenchyme that emerges after limb or fin amputation and serves as progenitor tissue for lost structures. Two studies published recently have illuminated new molecular regulators of blastemal proliferation. After amputation of a newt limb, the nerve sheath releases nAG, a blastemal mitogen that facilitates regeneration. In amputated zebrafish fins, regeneration is optimized through depletion of the microRNA miR-133, a mechanism that requires Fgf signaling. These discoveries establish research avenues that may impact the regenerative capacity of mammalian tissues.
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