Lizards are the most closely related vertebrates to mammals with the ability to regenerate an entire appendage as an adult. During regeneration of the tail appendage, the core contains a growing tube of ependymal cells containing radial glia that help to guide axon regrowth. New muscle groups form surrounding a cartilage endoskeleton, and both motor and sensory innervation to the new muscle groups is established. Skin and scales are reformed, and the entire structure has both motor biomechanical and sensory function. Intriguingly, this capacity can be exhausted through multiple rounds of regeneration, making it a useful model for decreased capacity for repair in aging. Mammals are unable to regenerate multiple tissue types in a functional appendage like the lizard tail. However, since mammals and reptiles are both amniote vertebrates and have diverged relatively recently compared with other regeneration models (salamander, zebrafish), this means that gene and their regulatory networks are more likely to be conserved. While molecular studies have been limited by the lack of genomic data, a 2011 publication of the genome of the green anole lizard, Anolis carolinensis, combined with our research teams 2012 genome reannotation based on deep transcriptome sequencing of 21 tissues, including regenerating tail, and microRNA sequencing has built an extensive genomic infrastructure.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/13 → 8/31/16|
- HHS: National Institutes of Health (NIH): $344,828.00