Identification of regenerative roadblocks via repeat deployment of limb regeneration in axolotls.

Academic Article


  • Axolotl salamanders are powerful models for understanding how regeneration of complex body parts can be achieved, whereas mammals are severely limited in this ability. Factors that promote normal axolotl regeneration can be examined in mammals to determine if they exhibit altered activity in this context. Furthermore, factors prohibiting axolotl regeneration can offer key insight into the mechanisms present in regeneration-incompetent species. We sought to determine if we could experimentally compromise the axolotl's ability to regenerate limbs and, if so, discover the molecular changes that might underlie their inability to regenerate. We found that repeated limb amputation severely compromised axolotls' ability to initiate limb regeneration. Using RNA-seq, we observed that a majority of differentially expressed transcripts were hyperactivated in limbs compromised by repeated amputation, suggesting that mis-regulation of these genes antagonizes regeneration. To confirm our findings, we additionally assayed the role of amphiregulin, an EGF-like ligand, which is aberrantly upregulated in compromised animals. During normal limb regeneration, amphiregulin is expressed by the early wound epidermis, and mis-expressing this factor lead to thickened wound epithelium, delayed initiation of regeneration, and severe regenerative defects. Collectively, our results suggest that repeatedly amputated limbs may undergo a persistent wound healing response, which interferes with their ability to initiate the regenerative program. These findings have important implications for human regenerative medicine.
  • Authors

  • Bryant, Donald M
  • Sousounis, Konstantinos
  • Payzin-Dogru, Duygu
  • Bryant, Sevara
  • Sandoval, Aaron Gabriel W
  • Martinez Fernandez, Jose
  • Mariano, Rachelle
  • Oshiro, Rachel
  • Wong, Alan Y
  • Leigh, Nicholas D
  • Johnson, Kimberly
  • Whited, Jessica L
  • Publication Date

  • 2017
  • Published In

  • NPJ Regen Med  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 30
  • Volume

  • 2
  • Issue

  • 1