Vertebrate-like regeneration in the invertebrate chordate amphioxus

Ildiko Maureen Lara Somorjai, Rajmund L. Somorjai, Jordi Garcia-Fernandez, Hector Escriva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


An important question in biology is why some animals are able to regenerate, whereas others are not. The basal chordate amphioxus is uniquely positioned to address the evolution of regeneration. We report here the high regeneration potential of the European amphioxus Branchiostoma lanceolatum. Adults regenerate both anterior and posterior structures, including neural tube, notochord, fin, and muscle. Development of a classifier based on tail regeneration profiles predicts the assignment of young and old adults to their own class with >94% accuracy. The process involves loss of differentiated characteristics, formation of an msx-expressing blastema, and neurogenesis. Moreover, regeneration is linked to the activation of satellite-like Pax3/7 progenitor cells, the extent of which declines with size and age. Our results provide a framework for understanding the evolution and diversity of regeneration mechanisms in vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-522
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2012


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