Publications - Science - 2005
Science
310:1327-1330
SMEDWI-2 Is a PIWI-Like Protein That Regulates Planarian StemCells
Peter W. Reddien, Néstor J. Oviedo, Joya R. Jennings, James C. Jenkin, and Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Salt Lake City, Utah


We have identified two genes, smedwi-1 and smedwi-2, expressed in the dividing adult stem cells (neoblasts) of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Both genes encode proteins that belong to the Argonaute/PIWI protein family and that share highest homology with those proteins defined by Drosophila PIWI. RNA interference (RNAi) of smedwi-2 blocks regeneration, even though neoblasts are present, irradiation-sensitive, and capable of proliferating in response to wounding; smedwi-2(RNAi) neoblast progeny migrate to sites of cell turnover but, unlike normal cells, fail at replacing aged tissue. We suggest that SMEDWI-2 functions within dividing neoblasts to support the generation of cells that promote regeneration and homeostasis.

 

* Address reprint requests to: Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado
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