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von Willebrand Factor D and EGF Domains is an evolutionarily conserved and required feature of blastemas capable of multi-tissue appendage regeneration

Leigh ND, Sessa S, Dragalzew AC, Payzin-Dogru D, Sousa JF, Aggouras AN, Johnson K, Dunlap GS, Haas BJ, Levin M, Schneider I, Whited JL
bioRxiv. 2019;[preprint] doi:10.1101/842948
Regenerative ability varies tremendously across species. A common feature of regeneration of appendages such as limbs, fins, antlers, and tails is the formation of a blastema--a transient structure that houses a pool of progenitor cells that regenerate the missing tissue. We have identified the expression of von Willebrand Factor D and EGF Domains (vwde) as a common feature of blastemas capable of regenerating limbs and fins in a variety of highly regenerative species. Further, vwde expression is tightly linked to the ability to regenerate appendages. Functional experiments demonstrate a requirement for vwde in regeneration and indicate that Vwde is a potent mitogen in the blastema. These data identify a key role for vwde in regenerating blastemas and underscore the power of an evolutionarily-informed approach for identifying conserved genetic components of regeneration.
Organism or Cell Type: 
Ambystoma mexicanum (Axolotl)
Delivery Method: 
injection then electroporation