Publications - Developmental Dynamics - 2003
226: 326-333, 2003
Allometric Scaling and Proportion Regulation in the Freshwater Planarian Schmidtea mediterranea
Néstor J. Oviedo,1,2 Phillip A. Newmark,3 and Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado1*
1University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Salt Lake City, Utah
2Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas, Centro de Biofísica y Bioquímica, Caracas, Venezuela
3University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Cell and Structural Biology, Urbana, Illinois
Grant sponsor: NIH; Grant number: F32-GM19539: Grant sponsor: NIH NIGMS; Grant number: RO-1 GM57260.

The regulation of scale and proportion in living organisms is an intriguing and enduring problem of biology. Regulatory mechanisms for controlling body size and proportion are clearly illustrated by the regeneration of missing body parts after amputation, in which the newly regenerated tissues ultimately attain a size that is anatomically congruent with the size of the rest of the organism. Understanding the molecular processes underpinning scaling would have deep consequences for our comprehension of tissue regeneration, developmental ontogeny, growth, and evolution. Although many theories have been put forward to explain this process, it is interesting that no satisfactory mechanistic explanation is currently available to explain scalar relationships. We chose to investigate the freshwater planarian, a commonly used model system for the study of metazoan regeneration, to delineate a strategy for the molecular dissection of scale and proportion mechanisms in metazoans. Here, we report on the cloning and discrete expression pattern of a novel planarian gene, which shares homology with the DEG/ENaC super-family of sodium channels. We have named H.112.3c cintillo (?head ribbon? in Spanish) and present a strategy for using the expression of this gene to monitor scale and proportion regulation during regeneration, growth and degrowth in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

* To whom reprint requests should be addressed e-mail: Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado
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