Whited JL, Lehoczky JA, Austin CA, Tabin CJ. 2011. Dynamic expression of two thrombospondins during axolotl limb regeneration. Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 240(5):1249-58. Pubmed: 21360624 DOI:10.1002/dvdy.22548


The molecular processes underlying regeneration remain largely unknown. Several potential factors have been elucidated by focusing on the regenerative function of genes originally identified in a developmental context. A complementary approach is to consider the roles of factors involved in wound healing. Here we focus on the Thrombospondins, a family of secreted extracellular matrix proteins that have been implicated in skin wound healing in mammals. We show that a subset of Thrombospondins are expressed at distinct times and in particular cell types during axolotl limb regeneration. Our studies have revealed the axolotl orthologs of thrombospondin-1 (tsp-1) and thrombospondin-4 (tsp-4) are highly upregulated during limb regeneration in patterns both distinct and similar to larval limb development. Our data suggest that thrombospondins may be key regulators of limb regeneration in axolotl, while their activation appears to be relegated solely to wound healing in vertebrates that have lost the ability to regenerate limbs.
Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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Jessica Whited studies limb regeneration in axolotl salamanders. Her lab develops tools to manipulate gene expression during limb regeneration, and explores signaling events following wound healing that initiate the regenerative process.

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