Live imaging of a regenerating leg in the crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis with ZEISS confocal and zoom microscopes
Parhyale hawaiensis is well suited for imaging limb regrowth. The animals have relatively rapid limb regeneration, requiring as little as one week for young adults to fully regrow their legs. Also, their tiny limbs enable us to image the regeneration process in unprecedented cell-by-cell detail through their entire thickness.Michalis Averof, Director of Research at IGFL
To record the regrowth of the Parhyale hawaiensis leg, the team used genetically engineered tools to label the limb’s epidermal cells using fluorescent proteins. They then used microscopy to take continuous live recordings over the first days of regrowth, with the fluorescence in the cells allowing them to capture their individual activity. “Using this method, we identified a specific sequence of events and cell behaviours that unfold during limb regrowth,” says first author Frederike Alwes.
The study also showed for the first time that there are no specialised stem cells for regenerating the epidermis in new limbs. Instead, most of the leg stump’s epidermal cells divide and re-arrange, contributing to new segments in the leg.
Traditionally, insight into cell behaviour during limb regrowth has been gathered by imaging fixed samples and attempting to fill in the missing pieces, due to the difficulties in tracking cells during regeneration in active adult animals. With the ability to track the movements and behaviour of single cells individually through time, we now have the means to understand the cellular dynamics of the regeneration process, which could not have been reconstructed from fixed material.first author Frederike Alwes
“While our paper focuses mostly on the behaviour of epidermal cells, we now plan to extend this work to include all the different cell types that are involved in limb regrowth. The ultimate aim of our research is to explore how some animals can respond to a severe injury by regenerating an entire body part that was lost.”
- Frederike Alwes, Camille Enjolras, Michalis Averof. Live imaging reveals the progenitors and cell dynamics of limb regeneration. eLife, 2016
- Nikolaos Konstantinides, Michalis Averof. A common cellular basis for muscle regeneration in arthropods and vertebrates. Science, 2014
- Homepage of the Averof Lab, IGFL, Lyon, France
Based on original article by ScienceDaily, October 25, 2016.
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