The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 62: 559 - 569 (2018)

Vol 62, Issue 6-7-8

Special Issue: Regeneration

Molecular mechanisms of limb regeneration: insights from regenerating legs of the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus

Interview | Published: 21 June 2018

Tetsuya Bando1, Taro Mito2, Yoshimasa Hamada#,1, Yoshiyasu Ishimaru2, Sumihare Noji2 and Hideyo Ohuchi*,1

SUP>1Department of Cytology and Histology, Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan and 2Division of Bioscience and Bioindustry, Graduate School of Technology, Industrial and Social Sciences, Tokushima University, Tokushima, Japan


This review summarizes recent advances in leg regeneration research, focusing on the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. Recent studies have revealed molecular mechanisms on blastema formation, establishment of positional information, and epigenetic regulation during leg regeneration. Especially, these studies have provided molecular bases in classical conceptual models such as the polar coordinate model, the intercalation model, the boundary model, the steepness model, etc., which were proposed to interpret regeneration processes of the cockroach legs. When a leg is amputated, a blastema is formed through the activation of the Janus-kinase (Jak)/Signal-Transduction-and-Activator-of-Transcription (STAT) pathway. Subsequently, the Hedgehog/Wingless/Decapentaplegic/Epidermal-growth-factor pathways instruct distalization in the blastema, designated as the molecular boundary model. Downstream targets of this pathway are transcription factors Distal-less (Dll) and dachshund (dac), functioning as key regulators of proximodistal pattern formation. Dll and dac specify the distal and proximal regions in the blastema, respectively, through the regulation of tarsal patterning genes. The expression of leg patterning genes during regeneration may be epigenetically controlled by histone H3K27 methylation via Enhancer-of-zeste and Ubiquitously–transcribed-tetratricopeptide-repeat-gene-X-chromosome. For the molecular mechanism of intercalation of the missing structures between the amputated position and the most distal one, Dachsous/Fat (Ds/Ft) steepness model has been proposed, in which the Ds/Ft pathway maintains positional information and determines leg size through dac expression. This model was theoretically verified to interpret the experimental results obtained with cricket legs. Availability of whole-genome sequence information, regeneration-dependent RNA interference, and genome editing technique will have the cricket be an ideal model system to reveal gene functions in leg regeneration.


leg regeneration, distalization, intercalation, steepness model, Gryllus bimaculatus

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