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Smith J.,The Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering | Morgan J.R.,University of Texas at Austin | Zottoli S.J.,Williams College | Zottoli S.J.,The Marine Biological Laboratory | And 4 more authors.
Biological Bulletin | Year: 2011

What gives an organism the ability to regrow tissues and to recover function where another organism fails is the central problem of regenerative biology. The challenge is to describe the mechanisms of regeneration at the molecular level, delivering detailed insights into the many components that are cross-regulated. In other words, a broad, yet deep dissection of the system-wide network of molecular interactions is needed. Functional genomics has been used to elucidate gene regulatory networks (GRNs) in developing tissues, which, like regeneration, are complex systems. Therefore, we reason that the GRN approach, aided by next generation technologies, can also be applied to study the molecular mechanisms underlying the complex functions of regeneration. We ask what characteristics a model system must have to support a GRN analysis. Our discussion focuses on regeneration in the central nervous system, where loss of function has particularly devastating consequences for an organism. We examine a cohort of cells conserved across all vertebrates, the reticulospinal (RS) neurons, which lend themselves well to experimental manipulations. In the lamprey, a jawless vertebrate, there are giant RS neurons whose large size and ability to regenerate make them particularly suited for a GRN analysis. Adding to their value, a distinct subset of lamprey RS neurons reproducibly fail to regenerate, presenting an opportunity for side-by-side comparison of gene networks that promote or inhibit regeneration. Thus, determining the GRN for regeneration in RS neurons will provide a mechanistic understanding of the fundamental cues that lead to success or failure to regenerate. © 2011 Marine Biological Laboratory. Source


Messerli M.A.,The Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering | Messerli M.A.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Graham D.M.,The Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering
Biological Bulletin | Year: 2011

Endogenous DC electric fields (EFs) are important, fundamental components of development, regeneration, and wound healing. The fields are the result of polarized ion transport and current flow through electrically conductive pathways. Nullification of endogenous EFs with pharmacological agents or applied EFs of opposite polarity disturbs the aforementioned processes, while enhancement increases the rate of wound closure and the extent of regeneration. EFs are applied to humans in the clinic, to provide an overwhelming signal for the enhancement of healing of chronic wounds. Although clinical trials, spanning a course of decades, have shown that applied EFs enhance healing of chronic wounds, the mechanisms by which cells sense and respond to these weak cues remains unknown. EFs are thought to influence many different processes in vivo. However, under more rigorously controlled conditions in vitro, applied EFs induce cellular polarity and direct migration and outgrowth. Here we review the generation of endogenous EFs, the results of their alteration, and the mechanisms by which cells may sense these weak fields. Understanding the mechanisms by which native and applied EFs direct development and repair will enable current and future therapeutic applications to be optimized. © 2011 Marine Biological Laboratory. Source


Graham D.M.,The Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering | Messerli M.A.,The Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering | Messerli M.A.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Pethig R.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Pethig R.,University of Edinburgh
BioTechniques | Year: 2012

The selection, isolation, and accurate positioning of single cells in three dimensions are increasingly desirable in many areas of cell biology and tissue engineering. We describe the application of a simple and low cost dielectrophoretic device for picking out and relocating single target cells. The device consists of a single metal electrode and an AC signal generator. It does not require microfabrication technologies or sophisticated electronics. The dielectrophoretic manipulator also discriminates between live and dead cells and is capable of redistributing intracellular organelles. Source

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