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Expression of pluripotency factors in echinoderm regeneration


Cell dedifferentiation is an integral component of post-traumatic regeneration in echinoderms. As dedifferentiated cells become multipotent, we asked if this spontaneous broadening of developmental potential is associated with the action of the same pluripotency factors (known as Yamanaka factors) that were used to induce pluripotency in specialized mammalian cells. In this study, we investigate the expression of orthologs of the four Yamanaka factors in regeneration of two different organs, the radial nerve cord and the digestive tube, in the sea cucumber Holothuria glaberrima. All four pluripotency factors are expressed in uninjured animals, although their expression domains do not always overlap. In regeneration, the expression levels of the four genes were not regulated in a coordinated way, but instead showed different dynamics for individual genes and also were different between the radial nerve and the gut. SoxB1, the ortholog of the mammalian Sox2, was drastically downregulated in the regenerating intestine, suggesting that this factor is not required for dedifferentiation/regeneration in this organ. On the other hand, during the early post-injury stage, Myc, the sea cucumber ortholog of c-Myc, was significantly upregulated in both the intestine and the radial nerve cord and is therefore hypothesized to play a central role in dedifferentiation/regeneration of various tissue types.

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The study was supported by grants from the NIH (1SC1GM084770-01, 1R03NS065275-01) and the NSF (IOS-0842870, IOS-1252679), as well as by the University of Puerto Rico.

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Correspondence to Vladimir S. Mashanov.

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Mashanov, V.S., Zueva, O.R. & García-Arrarás, J.E. Expression of pluripotency factors in echinoderm regeneration. Cell Tissue Res 359, 521–536 (2015).

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  • Regeneration
  • Dedifferentiation
  • Pluripotency factors
  • Gene expression
  • Echinodermata