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SMEDWI-2 Is a PIWI-like Protein That Regulates Planarian Stem Cells

Peter W. Reddien, Néstor J. Oviedo, Joya R. Jennings, James C. Jenkin and Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado
Science
New Series, Vol. 310, No. 5752 (Nov. 25, 2005), pp. 1327-1330
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3843213
Page Count: 4
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Abstract

We have identified two genes, smedwi-1 and smedwi-2, expressed in the dividing adult stem cells (neoblasts) of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Both genes encode proteins that belong to the Argonaute/PIWI protein family and that share highest homology with those proteins defined by Drosophila PIWI. RNA interference (RNAi) of smedwi-2 blocks regeneration, even though neoblasts are present, irradiation-sensitive, and capable of proliferating in response to wounding; smedwi-2(RNAi) neoblast progeny migrate to sites of cell turnover but, unlike normal cells, fail at replacing aged tissue. We suggest that SMEDWI-2 functions within dividing neoblasts to support the generation of cells that promote regeneration and homeostasis.

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