Signaling gradients in surface dynamics as basis for planarian regeneration

Arnd Scheel, Angela Stevens, Christoph Tenbrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Based on experimental data, we introduce and analyze a system of reaction-diffusion equations for the regeneration of planarian flatworms. We model dynamics of head and tail cells expressing positional control genes that translate into localized signals which in turn guide stem cell differentiation. Tissue orientation and positional information are encoded in a long range wnt-related signaling gradient. Our system correctly reproduces typical cut and graft experiments, and improves on previous models by preserving polarity in regeneration over orders of magnitude in body size during growth phases. Key to polarity preservation in our model flatworm is the sensitivity of cell differentiation to gradients of wnt-related signals relative to the tissue surface. This process is particularly relevant in small tissue layers close to cuts during their healing, and modeled in a robust fashion through dynamic boundary conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Mathematical Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 26 2021
Externally publishedYes


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