The potential for repairing and replacing cells, tissues, organs and body parts is considered a primitive attribute of life shared by all the organisms, even though it may be expressed to a different extent and which is essential for the survival of both individual and whole species. The ability to regenerate is particularly evident and widespread within invertebrates. In spite of the wide availability of experimental models, regeneration has been comprehensively explored in only a few animal systems (i.e., hydrozoans, planarians, urodeles) leaving many other animal groups unexplored. The regenerative potential finds its maximum expression in echinoderms. Among echinoderm classes, asteroids offer an impressive range of experimental models in which to study arm regeneration at different levels. Many studies have been recently carried out in order to understand the regenerative mechanisms in asteroids and the overall morphological processes have been well documented in different starfish species, such as Asterias rubens, Leptasterias hexactis and Echinaster sepositus. In contrast, very little is known about the molecular mechanisms that control regeneration development and patterning in these models. The origin and the fate of cells involved in the regenerative process remain a matter of debate and clear insights will require the use of complementary molecular and proteomic approaches to study this problem. Here, we review the current knowledge regarding the cellular, proteomic and molecular aspects of asteroid regeneration.
- Cell and tissue
- Molecular aspects