Melanocortin Receptor 4 Signaling Regulates Vertebrate Limb Regeneration

Mengshi Zhang, Youwei Chen, Hanqian Xu, Li Yang, Feng Yuan, Lei Li, Ying Xu, Ying Chen, Chao Zhang, Gufa Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Melanocortin 4 receptor (Mc4r) plays a crucial role in the central control of energy homeostasis, but its role in peripheral organs has not been fully explored. We have investigated the roles of hypothalamus-mediated energy metabolism during Xenopus limb regeneration. We report that hypothalamus injury inhibits Xenopus tadpole limb regeneration. By loss-of-function and gain-of-function studies, we show that Mc4r signaling is required for limb regeneration in regeneration-competent tadpoles and stimulates limb regeneration in later-stage regeneration-defective tadpoles. It regulates limb regeneration through modulating energy homeostasis and ROS production. Even more interestingly, our results demonstrate that Mc4r signaling is regulated by innervation and α-MSH substitutes for the effect of nerves in limb regeneration. Mc4r signaling is also required for mouse digit regeneration. Thus, our findings link vertebrate limb regeneration with Mc4r-mediated energy homeostasis and provide a new avenue for understanding Mc4r signaling in the peripheral organs. Zhang et al. describe a requirement for melanocortin receptor 4 (Mc4r) signaling in tadpole limb and mouse digit regeneration. They show that Mc4r signaling regulates energy homeostasis and ROS production in the regenerating limb. In addition, α-MSH/Mc4r signaling can substitute for the effect of innervation on limb regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-409.e5
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 20 2018


  • Mc4r
  • POMC
  • ROS
  • Xenopus
  • digit regeneration
  • energy metabolism
  • limb regeneration
  • neurotrophic factor
  • α-MSH

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    Zhang, M., Chen, Y., Xu, H., Yang, L., Yuan, F., Li, L., Xu, Y., Chen, Y., Zhang, C., & Lin, G. (2018). Melanocortin Receptor 4 Signaling Regulates Vertebrate Limb Regeneration. Developmental Cell, 46(4), 397-409.e5.