Date Published: August 17, 2004
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Partial Text: Cell and molecular biologists have a good start at understanding the adult salamander’s enviable ability to completely regrow a lost limb or jaw. (Salamanders can even regenerate portions of their eyes and heart.) Happily, mammals share many of the required cellular skills—though in an untapped form. In response to injury, fully differentiated salamander muscle cells can produce less specialized cells that are capable of multiplying and recreating lost tissue. In this month’s PLoS Biology, biochemist Jeremy Brockes and his colleagues at University College London tie this muscle cell de-differentiation to expression of a single gene, Msx1, a player in limb development and regeneration across species.