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Morphological, cellular and molecular characterization of posterior regeneration in the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii

Planques, Anabelle, Malem, Julien, Parapar, Julio, Vervoort, Michel, Gazave, Eve
Developmental biology 2019 v.445 no.2 pp. 189-210
Annelida, amputation, animals, cell proliferation, models, pharynx, tissue repair
Regeneration, the ability to restore body parts after an injury or an amputation, is a widespread but highly variable and complex phenomenon in animals. While having fascinated scientists for centuries, fundamental questions about the cellular basis of animal regeneration as well as its evolutionary history remain largely unanswered. Here, we present a study of regeneration of the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii, an emerging comparative developmental biology model, which, like many other annelids, displays important regenerative abilities. When P. dumerilii worms are amputated, they are able to regenerate the posteriormost differentiated part of their body and a stem cell-rich growth zone that allows the production of new segments replacing the amputated ones. We show that posterior regeneration is a rapid process that follows a well reproducible path and timeline, going through specific stages that we thoroughly defined. Wound healing is achieved one day after amputation and a regeneration blastema forms one day later. At this time point, some tissue specification already occurs, and a functional posterior growth zone is re-established as early as three days after amputation. Regeneration timing is only influenced, in a minor manner, by worm size. Comparable regenerative abilities are found for amputations performed at different positions along the antero-posterior axis of the worm, except when amputation planes are very close to the pharynx. Regenerative abilities persist upon repeated amputations without important alterations of the process. We also show that intense cell proliferation occurs during regeneration and that cell divisions are required for regeneration to proceed normally. Finally, 5-ethynyl-2’-deoxyuridine (EdU) pulse and chase experiments suggest that blastemal cells mostly derive from the segment immediately abutting the amputation plane. The detailed characterization of P. dumerilii posterior body regeneration presented in this article provides the foundation for future mechanistic and comparative studies of regeneration in this species.