Publications - Nature - 2002
419:620-624 (2002)
FGFR-related gene nou-darake restricts brain tissues to the head region of planarians
Francesc Cebrià1,7, Chiyoko Kobayashi1,7, Yoshihiko Umesono1, Masumi Nakazawa2, Katsuhiko Mineta2,3, Kazuho Ikeo2,3, Takashi Gojobori2,3, Mari Itoh4, Masanori Tairak4, Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado5 & Kiyokazu Agata1,6
1 Group for Evolutionary Regeneration Biology, Center for Developmental Biology RIKEN Kobe, 2-2-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Kobe 650-0047, Japan
2 Center for Information Biology and DNA Data Bank of Japan, National Institute of Genetics, and Department of Genetics, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Yata 1111, Mishima 411-8540, Japan
3Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, and Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST), Japan
4 Science and Technology Corporation, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
5 Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah School of Medicine, 50 N. Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132, USA
6 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Okayama University, 3-1-1 Tsushima-naka, Okayama 700-8530, Japan
7 These authors contributed equally to this work

The study of planarian regeneration may help us to understand how we can rebuild organs and tissues after injury, disease or ageing. The robust regenerative abilities of planarians are based upon a population of totipotent stem cells (neoblasts), and among the organs regenerated by these animals is a well-organized central nervous system. In recent years, methodologies such as whole-mount in situ hybridizations and double-stranded RNA have been extended to planarians with the aim of unravelling the molecular basis of their regenerative capacities. Here we report the identification and characterization of nou-darake (ndk), a gene encoding a fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR)-like molecule specifically expressed in the head region of the planarian Dugesia japonica. Loss of function of ndk by RNA interference results in the induction of ectopic brain tissues throughout the body. This ectopic brain formation was suppressed by inhibition of two planarian FGFR homologues (FGFR1 and FGFR2). Additionally, ndk inhibits FGF signalling in Xenopus embryos. The data suggest that ndk may modulate FGF signalling in stem cells to restrict brain tissues to the head region of planarians.

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