Dr. Danielle de Jong publishes regeneration paper in PLOS ONE
Congratulations to Dr. Danielle de Jong on the publication of her article entitled ‘A stable thoracic Hox code and epimorphosis characterize posterior regeneration in Capitella teleta’ published on Feb 19th in the journal PLOS ONE. Dr. de Jong is a postdoctoral researcher in the Seaver lab, and her article reports an investigation of regeneration in the segmented worm Capitella teleta. Regeneration is the replacement of lost body parts, and segmented worms or annelids are well known for their ability to substantially replace parts of their body following an amputation event. Regeneration in annelids occurs either through the birth of new cells by cell division or remodeling of tissue, which involves changes in cell type or function without birth of new cells. This study examined the relative contribution of these two processes during regeneration of the tail in Capitella. Dr. de Jong was able to utilize Hox genes as molecular markers of positional information along the anterior-posterior axis of the animal to identify signs of remodeling. She studied expression of Hox genes following amputation, and found stability of segment identity in most cases. However, for three Hox genes, amputation induced an anterior shift in expression in the nervous system, which depended upon the position of the amputation. This shows that there are complex interactions between existing and newly born cells to insure the establishment of a functional body. We have a lot to learn from these little worms!