Hedgehog and Wnt Signaling Pathways Regulate Tail Regeneration

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14 Scopus citations


Urodele amphibians have a tremendous capacity for the regeneration of appendages, including limb and tail, following injury. While studies have focused on the cellular and morphological changes during appendicular regeneration, the signaling mechanisms that govern these cytoarchitectural changes during the regenerative response are unclear. In this study, we describe the essential role of hedgehog (Hh) and Wnt signaling pathways following tail amputation in the newt. Quantitative PCR studies revealed that members of both the Hh and Wnt signaling pathways, including the following: shh, ihh, ptc-1, wnt-3a, β-catenin, axin2, frizzled (frzd)-1, and frzd-2 transcripts, were induced following injury. Continuous pharmacological-mediated inhibition of Hh signaling resulted in spike-like regenerates with no evidence of tissue patterning, whereas activation of Hh signaling enhanced the regenerative process. Pharmacological-mediated temporal inhibition experiments demonstrated that the Hh-mediated patterning of the regenerating tail occurs early during regeneration and Hh signals are continuously required for proliferation of the blastemal progenitors. BrdU incorporation and PCNA immunohistochemical studies demonstrated that Hh signaling regulates the cellular proliferation of the blastemal cells following amputation. Similarly, Wnt inhibition resulted in perturbed regeneration, whereas its activation promoted tail regeneration. Using an inhibitor-activator strategy, we demonstrated that the Wnt pathway is likely to be upstream of the Hh pathway and together these signaling pathways function in a coordinated manner to facilitate tail regeneration. Mechanistically, the Wnt signaling pathway activated the Hh signaling pathway that included ihh and ptc-1 during the tail regenerative process. Collectively, our results demonstrate the absolute requirement of signaling pathways that are essential in the regulation of tail regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1426-1437
Number of pages12
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • Newt
  • Wnt signaling pathways
  • proliferation
  • sonic hedgehog
  • tail regeneration


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