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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Glowing worms can reveal the secret of regeneration

In 1961, Shimomura Shuhe Frank Johnson isolated a protein from jellyfish Glow green Under ultraviolet light. Due to the similarity of proteins, corals can also fluoresce in multiple colors. Now scientists at Harvard University have genetically modified the three-banded panther worm so that the creature can emit a similar green light, according to a study. New article Published in the journal Developmental cell. They hope to uncover the secret of rebirth.

Most animals exhibit some form of regeneration: for example, regrowth of hair, or re-weaving of broken bones. However, some organisms can perform particularly amazing regenerative feats, and studying the mechanisms by which they accomplish these feats may be of great significance to human aging. For example, if a salamander loses a leg, its limbs will grow back, and some geckos can separate their tails to distract from predators, and then grow again. Zebrafish can regenerate lost or damaged fins and repair damaged heart, retina, pancreas, brain or spinal cord. Cut the planarian flatworm, jellyfish or sea anemone in half and it will regenerate the entire body.

Then there is the three-banded leopard worm (Miami Hofstein), a small creature that looks a bit like a grain of rice, named for the iconic trio of cream stripes all over its body. If the panther worm is cut into three parts, each part will generate a complete worm in about eight weeks. These worms are mainly found in the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Bermuda, and Japan. They are greedy predators. If they are hungry enough and cannot find other prey, they will bite from other black panther worms. They are also The study of regeneration mechanism provides a promising new model.

Co-author Mansi Srivastava is an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University and has been studying the three-banded panther worm since 2010 when she was Peter Reddien at the Whitehead Institute of MIT Postdoctoral scholar in the laboratory. They collected about 120 worms in Bermuda and brought them back to Cambridge. The worms did not immediately adapt to laboratory life: Srivastava and Reddien had to figure out the correct salinity level of their water and find an acceptable food source. Worms don’t care that Reddien has been feeding the liver of his planarian flatworms, some people take cannibalism in order to survive.Eventually, the researchers found that the panther worm likes Brine shrimp (Aka Sea monkey), these creatures finally began to thrive.

A report in 1960 claimed that these worms could regrow their severed heads, but there was little scientific follow-up. Early experiments by Reddien and Srivastava proved that black panther worms can regenerate not only the head, but also almost any body part, just like the planarian flatworm—although the two are only distant relatives. Srivastava now runs his own laboratory at Harvard to study the regeneration of black panther worms.

In 2019, Srivastava and her laboratory released the entire genome sequence of the black panther worm, as well as their identification of some “DNA switches” that seem to control genes that regenerate throughout the body. Specifically, they identified a piece of non-coding DNA that controls whether a regeneration “master control gene” called early growth response (EGR) is activated. In turn, EGR can turn on or off other genes involved in various processes. If EGR is not activated, worm regeneration will not occur.

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