Study describes the dynamics of chromatin during organ and tissue regeneration

December 5, 2018, University of Barcelona
(Above) Florenci Serras (UB), Montserrat Corominas (UB). (Below) Elena Vizcaya (UB) and Cecilia Klein (UB-CRG). Credit: UB

Researchers from the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics and the Institute of Biomedicine of the University of Barcelona (UB), in collaboration with the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), have described the genes and regulatory elements of gene expression that are required during the process of tissue and organ regeneration. The study, published in Genome Research, combines classic genetic analysis with new study techniques for chromatin through next-generation sequencing.

The authors analysed the transcriptome of imaginal disks in the Drosophila melanogaster wings in different regeneration time periods. Through the analysis of massive RNA sequencing, they identified those that are differentially expressed during the process. Also, they saw that more than 30 percent of these genes are located in gene clusters. Thanks to the conducted on other species (mice and ), the authors discovered a group of genes involved in regeneration that are conserved in all those species. "Knowing which genes these organisms have in common can help us understand what is necessary to activate this process in organisms with more limited regenerative skills, such as humans," notes Elena Vizcaya-Molina.

"This study shows the growing importance of omics and bioinformatics to understand basic biological processes," notes the postdoc CRG researcher and UB lecturer, Cecilia Klein. The combination of new sequencing techniques and bioinformatics analysis with the experimental study allows researchers to progress regarding the understanding of gene regulation, in this case, regeneration.

Regulatory elements in regeneration

In this study, researchers also discovered three kinds of regulatory elements related to regeneration: those that increase their activity during regeneration, those that are reused from other development stages or other tissues, and a group of unique regenerative elements. "These regulatory elements are DNA sequences able to lead and shape the gene expression," says Elena Vizcaya. The authors also found that these elements could be activated by some conserved genes among species (fly, mouse and zebra fish). "The ectopic activation of specific of regeneration could be a key tool to boost the organs' regenerative ability that are not able to regenerate," says Montserrat Corominas.

Explore further: Team creates online database to compare regenerative tissue capabilities among animals

More information: Elena Vizcaya-Molina et al, Damage-responsive elements in Drosophila regeneration, Genome Research (2018). DOI: 10.1101/gr.233098.117

Related Stories

Scientists identify new genetic regulators of regeneration

August 21, 2018

Scientists at the MDI Biological Laboratory and the University of Maine have discovered that genetic material in the cell that was previously thought to be "junk" because of its apparent lack of function likely plays a part ...

A Mexican cavefish with a scarred heart

November 20, 2018

Scientists are studying a guppy-sized, blind, translucent fish that lives in the cave systems of northern Mexico to figure out why some animals can regenerate their hearts, while others just scar. Their research appears November ...

Study uncovers genetic elements that drive regeneration

April 6, 2016

If you trace our evolutionary tree way back to its roots—long before the shedding of gills or the development of opposable thumbs—you will likely find a common ancestor with the amazing ability to regenerate lost body ...

Recommended for you

Researchers engineer a tougher fiber

February 22, 2019

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a fiber that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of a metal, resulting in a tougher material that could be incorporated into soft robotics, packaging ...

A quantum magnet with a topological twist

February 22, 2019

Taking their name from an intricate Japanese basket pattern, kagome magnets are thought to have electronic properties that could be valuable for future quantum devices and applications. Theories predict that some electrons ...

Good dog? Bad dog? Their personalities can change

February 22, 2019

When dog-parents spend extra time scratching their dogs' bellies, take their dogs out for long walks and games of fetch, or even when they feel constant frustration over their dogs' naughty chewing habits, they are gradually ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.