Development and Regeneration Biology
Principal investigators: Emili Saló • Dr. Josep Francesc Abril • Dra.Teresa Adell • Dr. Francesc Cebria PhD students: Eudald Pascual • Sergio Castillo Lara • Maria Roselló Postdoctoral research assistant/Lab manager: Susana Fraguas
Regeneration and tissue renewal are essential processes of adult animals that must be tightly controlled. During regeneration the proper amount of new cells must be produced, and their fate properly re-specified. During homeostatic cell renewal new cells are also continuously produced and must be integrated into an already developed body plan. In both situations, two main processes should be coordinated: growth (cell proliferation/death) and pattern (cell fate and organization). Planarian stricking plasticity provides the ideal scenario to understand the genetic and molecular interactions driving adult development. Planarians regenerate a complete and proportionate organism from any small piece. Furthermore, during homeostasis they undergo a tissue constant turnover, growing and shrinking depending on nutrients, always maintaining organ functionality. The basis of such behaviour is the presence of a population of adult pluripotent stem cells, the neoblasts, accompanied by the constitutive activation of cell communication pathways.
To advance in the understanding of the genetic and cellular mechanisms that underlie planarian regeneration and tissue renewal, our main objectives are: 1) to characterize the genetic and cellular interactions that confer organizing activity to posterior planarian tips. To that aim we integrate data obtained from several high throughput genomic technologies: RNAseq, ATAC-seq, Chip-seq and Drop-Seq; 2) to understand the required cell reprograming to remodelate the old structures to the new proportions and the regeneration of new missing structures with the correct size and shape. We study the Hippo pathway as a main player in the correct cell differentiation and maintenance of the differentiated state; 3) to unravel the epigenetic regulation of stem cell maintenance and differentiation from the functional characterization of the CBP/p300 family of histone acetyltransferases; and 4) to implement computational tools, protocols and models to assist in the analysis, integration and visualization of planarian omics datasets.
De Sousa N, Rodríguez-Esteban G, Rojo-Laguna JI, Saló E & Adell T. Hippo signaling controls cell cycle and restricts cell plasticity in planarians. PLoS Biol. 2018 Jan 22;16(1):e2002399. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2002399.
Castillo-Lara S & Abril JF. PlanNET: homology-based predicted interactome for multiple planarian transcriptomes. Bioinformatics, 34(6) :1016—1023, 2018. https://compgen.bio.ub.edu/PlanNET
Barberán S, Fraguas S & Cebrià F. The EGFR signalling pathway controls gut progenitor differentiation during planarian regeneration and homeòstasis. Development 2016, 143:2089-20102, doi: 10.1242/dev.131995
Almuedo-Castillo M, Crespo X, Seebeck F, Bartscherer K, Salò E & Adell T. JNK controls the onset of mitosis of planarian stem cells and triggers apoptotic cell death required for regeneration and remodeling. PLOS Genetics 2014, 10 (6):e1004400
Molina MD, Neto A, Maeso I, Gómez-Skarmeta JL, Saló E & Cebrià F. Noggins, a noggin-like gene and a BMP/ADMP organizer control the regeneration of the planarian DV axis. Current Biology, 2011, 21:300-305.