Differential expression of conserved and novel microRNAs during tail regeneration in the lizard Anolis carolinensis.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Lizards are evolutionarily the most closely related vertebrates to humans that can lose and regrow an entire appendage. Regeneration in lizards involves differential expression of hundreds of genes that regulate wound healing, musculoskeletal development, hormonal response, and embryonic morphogenesis. While microRNAs are able to regulate large groups of genes, their role in lizard regeneration has not been investigated. RESULTS:MicroRNA sequencing of green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis) regenerating tail and associated tissues revealed 350 putative novel and 196 known microRNA precursors. Eleven microRNAs were differentially expressed between the regenerating tail tip and base during maximum outgrowth (25 days post autotomy), including miR-133a, miR-133b, and miR-206, which have been reported to regulate regeneration and stem cell proliferation in other model systems. Three putative novel differentially expressed microRNAs were identified in the regenerating tail tip. CONCLUSIONS:Differentially expressed microRNAs were identified in the regenerating lizard tail, including known regulators of stem cell proliferation. The identification of 3 putative novel microRNAs suggests that regulatory networks, either conserved in vertebrates and previously uncharacterized or specific to lizards, are involved in regeneration. These findings suggest that differential regulation of microRNAs may play a role in coordinating the timing and expression of hundreds of genes involved in regeneration.
Project description:Lizards, which are amniote vertebrates like humans, are able to lose and regenerate a functional tail. Understanding the molecular basis of this process would advance regenerative approaches in amniotes, including humans. We have carried out the first transcriptomic analysis of tail regeneration in a lizard, the green anole Anolis carolinensis, which revealed 326 differentially expressed genes activating multiple developmental and repair mechanisms. Specifically, genes involved in wound response, hormonal regulation, musculoskeletal development, and the Wnt and MAPK/FGF pathways were differentially expressed along the regenerating tail axis. Furthermore, we identified 2 microRNA precursor families, 22 unclassified non-coding RNAs, and 3 novel protein-coding genes significantly enriched in the regenerating tail. However, high levels of progenitor/stem cell markers were not observed in any region of the regenerating tail. Furthermore, we observed multiple tissue-type specific clusters of proliferating cells along the regenerating tail, not localized to the tail tip. These findings predict a different mechanism of regeneration in the lizard than the blastema model described in the salamander and the zebrafish, which are anamniote vertebrates. Thus, lizard tail regrowth involves the activation of conserved developmental and wound response pathways, which are potential targets for regenerative medical therapies.
Project description:While lizards and salamanders both exhibit the ability to regenerate amputated tails, the outcomes achieved by each are markedly different. Salamanders, such as Ambystoma mexicanum, regenerate nearly identical copies of original tails. Regenerated lizard tails, however, exhibit important morphological differences compared with originals. Some of these differences concern dorsoventral patterning of regenerated skeletal and spinal cord tissues; regenerated salamander tail tissues exhibit dorsoventral patterning, while regrown lizard tissues do not. Additionally, regenerated lizard tails lack characteristically roof plate-associated structures, such as dorsal root ganglia. We hypothesized that differences in neural stem cells (NSCs) found in the ependyma of regenerated spinal cords account for these divergent regenerative outcomes. Through a combination of immunofluorescent staining, RT-PCR, hedgehog regulation, and transcriptome analysis, we analyzed NSC-dependent tail regeneration. Both salamander and lizard Sox2+ NSCs form neurospheres in culture. While salamander neurospheres exhibit default roof plate identity, lizard neurospheres exhibit default floor plate. Hedgehog signaling regulates dorsalization/ventralization of salamander, but not lizard, NSCs. Examination of NSC differentiation potential in vitro showed that salamander NSCs are capable of neural differentiation into multiple lineages, whereas lizard NSCs are not, which was confirmed by in vivo spinal cord transplantations. Finally, salamander NSCs xenogeneically transplanted into regenerating lizard tail spinal cords were influenced by native lizard NSC hedgehog signals, which favored salamander NSC floor plate differentiation. These findings suggest that NSCs in regenerated lizard and salamander spinal cords are distinct cell populations, and these differences contribute to the vastly different outcomes observed in tail regeneration.
Project description:Peripheral nerves exhibit robust regenerative capabilities in response to selective injury among amniotes, but the regeneration of entire muscle groups following volumetric muscle loss is limited in birds and mammals. In contrast, lizards possess the remarkable ability to regenerate extensive de novo muscle after tail loss. However, the mechanisms underlying reformation of the entire neuromuscular system in the regenerating lizard tail are not completely understood. We have tested whether the regeneration of the peripheral nerve and neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) recapitulate processes observed during normal neuromuscular development in the green anole, Anolis carolinensis. Our data confirm robust axonal outgrowth during early stages of tail regeneration and subsequent NMJ formation within weeks of autotomy. Interestingly, NMJs are overproduced as evidenced by a persistent increase in NMJ density 120 and 250 days post autotomy (DPA). Substantial Myelin Basic Protein (MBP) expression could also be detected along regenerating nerves indicating that the ability of Schwann cells to myelinate newly formed axons remained intact. Overall, our data suggest that the mechanism of de novo nerve and NMJ reformation parallel, in part, those observed during neuromuscular development. However, the prolonged increase in NMJ number and aberrant muscle differentiation hint at processes specific to the adult response. An examination of the coordinated exchange between peripheral nerves, Schwann cells, and newly synthesized muscle of the regenerating neuromuscular system may assist in the identification of candidate molecules that promote neuromuscular recovery in organisms incapable of a robust regenerative response.
Project description:Among vertebrates, salamanders stand out for their remarkable capacity to quickly regrow a myriad of tissues and organs after injury or amputation. The limb regeneration process in axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) has been well studied for decades at the cell-tissue level. While several developmental genes are known to be reactivated during this epimorphic process, less is known about the role of microRNAs in urodele amphibian limb regeneration. Given the compelling evidence that many microRNAs tightly regulate cell fate and morphogenetic processes through development and adulthood by modulating the expression (or re-expression) of developmental genes, we investigated the possibility that microRNA levels change during limb regeneration. Using two different microarray platforms to compare the axolotl microRNA expression between mid-bud limb regenerating blastemas and non-regenerating stump tissues, we found that miR-21 was overexpressed in mid-bud blastemas compared to stump tissue. Mature A. mexicanum ("Amex") miR-21 was detected in axolotl RNA by Northern blot and differential expression of Amex-miR-21 in blastema versus stump was confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. We identified the Amex Jagged1 as a putative target gene for miR-21 during salamander limb regeneration. We cloned the full length 3'UTR of Amex-Jag1, and our in vitro assays demonstrated that its single miR-21 target recognition site is functional and essential for the response of the Jagged1 gene to miR-21 levels. Our findings pave the road for advanced in vivo functional assays aimed to clarify how microRNAs such as miR-21, often linked to pathogenic cell growth, might be modulating the redeployment of developmental genes such as Jagged1 during regenerative processes.
Project description:The lizards are evolutionarily the closest vertebrates to humans that demonstrate the ability to regenerate entire appendages containing cartilage, muscle, skin, and nervous tissue. We previously isolated PAX7-positive cells from muscle of the green anole lizard, Anolis carolinensis, that can differentiate into multinucleated myotubes and express the muscle structural protein, myosin heavy chain. Studying gene expression in these satellite/progenitor cell populations from A. carolinensis can provide insight into the mechanisms regulating tissue regeneration. We generated a transcriptome from proliferating lizard myoprogenitor cells and compared them to transcriptomes from the mouse and human tissues from the ENCODE project using XGSA, a statistical method for cross-species gene set analysis. These analyses determined that the lizard progenitor cell transcriptome was most similar to mammalian satellite cells. Further examination of specific GO categories of genes demonstrated that among genes with the highest level of expression in lizard satellite cells were an increased number of genetic regulators of chondrogenesis, as compared to mouse satellite cells. In micromass culture, lizard PAX7-positive cells formed Alcian blue and collagen 2a1 positive nodules, without the addition of exogenous morphogens, unlike their mouse counterparts. Subsequent quantitative RT-PCR confirmed up-regulation of expression of chondrogenic regulatory genes in lizard cells, including bmp2, sox9, runx2, and cartilage specific structural genes, aggrecan and collagen 2a1. Taken together, these data suggest that tail regeneration in lizards involves significant alterations in gene regulation with expanded musculoskeletal potency.
Project description:Ephrin receptors are the most common tyrosine kinase effectors operating during development. Ephrin receptor genes are reported to be up-regulated in the regenerating tail of the Podarcis muralis lizard. Thus, in the current study, we investigated immunolocalization of ephrin receptors in the Podarcis muralis tail during regeneration. Weak immunolabelled bands for ephrin receptors were detected at 15-17 kDa, with a stronger band also detected at 60-65 kDa. Labelled cells and nuclei were seen in the basal layer of the apical wound epidermis and ependyma, two key tissues stimulating tail regeneration. Strong nuclear and cytoplasmic labelling were present in the segmental muscles of the regenerating tail, sparse blood vessels, and perichondrium of regenerating cartilage. The immunolocalization of ephrin receptors in muscle that gives rise to large portions of new tail tissue was correlated with their segmentation. This study suggests that the high localization of ephrin receptors in differentiating epidermis, ependyma, muscle, and cartilaginous cells is connected to the regulation of cell proliferation through the activation of programs for cell differentiation in the proximal regions of the regenerating tail. The lower immunolabelling of ephrin receptors in the apical blastema, where signaling proteins stimulating cell proliferation are instead present, helps maintain the continuous growth of this region.
Project description:Large-scale tissue regeneration has potential consequences for telomere length through increases in cell division and changes in metabolism which increase the potential for oxidative stress damage to telomeres. The effects of regeneration on telomere dynamics have been studied in fish and marine invertebrates, but the literature is scarce for terrestrial species. We experimentally induced tail autotomy in a lizard ( Niveoscincus ocellatus) and assessed relative telomere length (RTL) in blood samples before and after partial tail regeneration while concurrently measuring reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. The change in ROS levels was a significant explanatory variable for the change in RTL over the 60-day experiment. At the average value of ROS change, the mean RTL increased significantly in the control group (intact tails), but there was no such evidence in the regenerating group. By contrast, ROS levels decreased significantly in the regenerating group, but there was no such evidence in the control group. Combined, these results suggest that tail regeneration following autotomy involves a response to oxidative stress and this potentially comes at a cost to telomere repair. This change in telomere maintenance demonstrates a potential long-term cost of tail regeneration beyond the regrowth of tissue itself.
Project description:Introduction:Human cartilage is an avascular tissue with limited capacity for repair. By contrast, certain lizards are capable of musculoskeletal tissue regeneration following tail loss throughout all stages of their lives. This extraordinary ability is the result of a complex process in which a blastema forms and gives rise to the tissues of the regenerate. Blastemal cells have been shown to originate either from dedifferentiated tissues or from existing progenitor cells in various species, but their origin has not been determined in lizards. As reptiles, lizards are the closest relatives to mammals with enhanced regenerative potential, and the origin of blastemal cells has important implications for the regenerative process. Hence, the aim of this study is to determine the cellular origin of regenerated cartilage and muscle tissues in reptiles using the mourning gecko lizard as the regenerative model. Methods:To trace the fate and differentiation potential of cartilage during tail regeneration, cartilage cells pre-labeled with the fluorescent tracer Dil were injected into lizard tails, and the contribution of cartilage cells to regenerated tail tissues was assessed by histologic examination at 7, 14, and 21?days post-tail amputation. The contribution of muscle cells to regenerated tail tissues was evaluated using muscle creatine kinase promoter-driven Cre recombinase in conjunction with the Cre-responsive green-to-red fluorescence shift construct CreStoplight. 21 days after amputation, tail tissues were analyzed by histology for red fluorescent protein (RFP)-positive cells. Results:At 7?days post-amputation, Dil-labeled cartilage cells localized to the subapical space contributing to the blastema. At 14 and 21?days post-amputation, Dil-labeled cells remained in the subapical space and colocalized with Collagen type II (Col2) staining in the cartilage tube and myosin heavy chain (MHC) staining in regenerated muscle. Lineage tracing of myocytes showed colocalization of RFP with Col2 and MHC in differentiated tissues at 21?days post-amputation. Conclusion:This study demonstrates that differentiated cartilage cells contribute to both regenerated muscle and cartilage tissues following tail loss, and in turn, differentiated muscle cells contribute to both tissue types as well. These findings suggest that dedifferentiation and/or transdifferentiation are at least partially responsible for the regenerative outcome in the mourning gecko.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Epimorphic regeneration results in the restoration of lost tissues and structures from an aggregation of proliferating cells known as a blastema. Among amniotes the most striking example of epimorphic regeneration comes from tail regenerating lizards. Although tail regeneration is often studied in the context of ecological costs and benefits, details of the sequence of tissue-level events are lacking. Here we investigate the anatomical and histological events that characterize tail regeneration in the leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularius.<h4>Results</h4>Tail structure and tissue composition were examined at multiple days following tail loss, revealing a conserved pattern of regeneration. Removal of the tail results in a consistent series of morphological and histological events. Tail loss is followed by a latent period of wound healing with no visible signs of regenerative outgrowth. During this latent period basal cells of the epidermis proliferate and gradually cover the wound. An additional aggregation of proliferating cells accumulates adjacent to the distal tip of the severed spinal cord marking the first appearance of the blastema. Continued growth of the blastema is matched by the initiation of angiogenesis, followed by the re-development of peripheral axons and the ependymal tube of the spinal cord. Skeletal tissue differentiation, corresponding with the expression of Sox9, and muscle re-development are delayed until tail outgrowth is well underway.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We demonstrate that tail regeneration in lizards involves a highly conserved sequence of events permitting the establishment of a staging table. We show that tail loss is followed by a latent period of scar-free healing of the wound site, and that regeneration is blastema-mediated. We conclude that the major events of epimorphic regeneration are highly conserved across vertebrates and that a comparative approach is an invaluable biomedical tool for ongoing regenerative research.
Project description:Caudal autotomy in lizards has intrigued scientists for more than 100 years. Because of the relative lack of literature under natural conditions, the complicated association among field autotomy rate, real predation pressure, the long-term cost of tail loss, and the benefit of regeneration remains equivocal. In this study, we conducted a 7-year capture-mark-recapture (CMR) programme with a wild population of a sexually dichromatic lizard, Takydromus viridipunctatus We used autotomy indexes and a contemporary bird census mega-dataset of four predatory birds as predictors to examine the association between tail loss and predation pressure. We further estimated the survival cost of tail loss and alleviation by regeneration under natural conditions through CMR modelling. We found that large and small avian predators affect lizard survival through the following two routes: the larger-sized cattle egret causes direct mortality while the smaller shrikes and kestrels are the major causes of autotomy. Following autotomy, the survival rate of tailless individuals over the next month was significantly lower than that of tailed individuals, especially males during the breeding season, which showed a decline of greater than 30%. This sex-related difference further demonstrated the importance of reproductive costs for males in this sexually dichromatic species. However, the risk of mortality returned to baseline after the tails were fully grown. This study indicates the benefit of tail regeneration under natural conditions, which increases our understanding of the cost-benefit dynamics of caudal autotomy and further explains the maintenance of this trait as an evolutionarily beneficial adaption to long-term predator-prey interactions.