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To grow or not to grow: a step forward in adult vertebrate tissue regeneration
Date:3/27/2014

The reason why some animals can regenerate tissues after severe organ loss or amputation while others, such as humans, cannot renew some structures has always intrigued scientists. In a study now published in PLOS ONE*, a research group from Instituto Gulbenkian de Cincia (IGC, Portugal) led by Joaqun Rodrguez Len provided new clues to solve this central question by investigating regeneration in an adult vertebrate model: the zebrafish. It was known that zebrafish is able to regenerate organs, and that electrical currents may play a role in this process, but the exact mechanisms are still unclear. Using both biophysical and molecular approaches, the researchers have shown, for the first time, that zebrafish regenerates its caudal fin by a process that involves a specific channel in the cell membrane, called V-ATPase, that pumps hydrogen ions (H+) out of the cells generating an electrical current. Understanding these mechanisms underlying adult tissue regeneration may be instrumental for the development of new therapeutic strategies, both in regenerative and developmental medicine.

Cell regeneration is a biological feature of all living organisms with an important role in growth, wound healing, tissue repair and similar biological functions. Scientists have been investigating the molecular aspects that underline regeneration aiming to understand why some animals have the ability to regrow entire tissue structures after amputation or injury whereas humans can just regenerate few organs, such as the liver or the skin. The classical approach has been to look at genes and proteins, and only more recently, the relevance of bioelectric signals began to be investigated. Researchers from Joaqun Rodrguez Len's laboratory set out to analyze the contribution of different ion fluxes in the cell membrane, either inwards or outwards, during regen
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Contact: Ana Mena
anamena@igc.gulbenkian.pt
351-214-407-959
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia
Source:Eurekalert  

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To grow or not to grow: a step forward in adult vertebrate tissue regeneration
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