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Regeneration in an evolutionarily primitive brain – the planarian Dugesia japonica model

Authors

  • Yoshihiko Umesono,

    1. Department of Biophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-Oiwake, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan
    2. Center for Developmental Biology, RIKEN, Kobe, Japan
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  • Junichi Tasaki,

    1. Department of Biophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-Oiwake, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan
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  • Kaneyasu Nishimura,

    1. Department of Biophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-Oiwake, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan
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    • Present address: Department of Biological Repair, Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences, and Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University, 53 Kawahara-machi, Shogoin, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.

  • Takeshi Inoue,

    1. Department of Biophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-Oiwake, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan
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  • Kiyokazu Agata

    1. Department of Biophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-Oiwake, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan
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Dr Y. Umesono, 1Department of Biophysics, as above.
E-mail: umesono@mdb.biophys.kyoto-u.ac.jp

Abstract

A unique aspect of planarians is that they can regenerate a brain from somatic pluripotent stem cells called neoblasts, which have the ability to produce themselves (self-renew) and to give rise to all missing cell types during regeneration. Recent molecular studies have revealed that the planarian brain is composed of many distinct neuronal populations, which are evolutionarily and functionally conserved ones, and acts as an information-processing center to elicit distinct behavioral traits depending on a variety of signals arising from the external environment. How can planarians regenerate such a brain? On the basis of our recent findings, here we review the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the stem cell dynamics involved in the brain regeneration of the planarian Dugesia japonica. Our findings suggest the possible value of in vivo planarian studies for guiding regenerative medicine to treat neurodegenerative diseases via interlinking stem cell biology and regeneration biology.

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