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Keywords:

  • Drosophila;
  • dorsal closure;
  • imaginal disc;
  • adult stem cells;
  • wound healing;
  • tissue repair;
  • cell turnover;
  • homeostasis;
  • regeneration;
  • regenerative medicine

Abstract

Understanding the molecular basis of wound healing and regeneration in vertebrates is one of the main challenges in biology and medicine. This understanding will lead to medical advances allowing accelerated tissue repair after wounding, rebuilding new tissues/organs and restoring homeostasis. Drosophila has emerged as a valuable model for studying these processes because the genetic networks and cytoskeletal machinery involved in epithelial movements occurring during embryonic dorsal closure, larval imaginal disc fusion/regeneration, and epithelial repair are similar to those acting during wound healing and regeneration in vertebrates. Recent studies have also focused on the use of Drosophila adult stem cells to maintain tissue homeostasis. Here, we review how Drosophila has contributed to our understanding of these processes, primarily through live-imaging and genetic tools that are impractical in mammals. Furthermore, we highlight future research areas where this insect may provide novel insights and potential therapeutic strategies for wound healing and regeneration. Developmental Dynamics 240:2739–2404, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.