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Can Aztekin unveils axolotl limb regeneration paradox

19.10.2023 13:02

Funded by the Branco Weiss Fellowship, Dr. Can Aztekin and his team have revealed a discovery in the realm of axolotl limb development and regeneration. The team has recently published their paper, titled «Multi-species atlas resolves an axolotl limb development and regeneration paradox» in Nature Communications.

Traditionally, the scientific community held that apical-ectodermal-ridge (AER) cells were indispensable for limb development in humans and other tetrapods, with their reappearance being a key factor in initiating limb regeneration. With an innovative approach employing a single-cell transcriptomics-based multi-species atlas encompassing data from axolotls, their research has offered a new perspective.

The research confirmed the existence of AER-like cells in axolotls, dispelling prior doubts. Moreover, during limb regeneration, axolotls do not fully re-form AER cells. Instead, it appears that the axolotl mesoderm, a critical layer of embryonic tissue, plays a vital role in their distinct limb (re)growth program. This has resolved the long-standing axolotl AER debate and suggests that limbs can regrow using cell types not typically associated with development, hinting at new avenues for research in mammalian regeneration. The publication in Nature Communications summarizes the culmination of this successful work.

Read the paper in Nature Communications