PBX/extradenticle is required to re-establish axial structures and polarity during planarian regeneration.
Blassberg RA., Felix DA., Tejada-Romero B., Aboobaker AA.
Recent advances in a number of systems suggest many genes involved in orchestrating regeneration are redeployed from similar processes in development, with others being novel to the regeneration process in particular lineages. Of particular importance will be understanding the architecture of regenerative genetic regulatory networks and whether they are conserved across broad phylogenetic distances. Here, we describe the role of the conserved TALE class protein PBX/Extradenticle in planarians, a representative member of the Lophotrocozoa. PBX/Extradenticle proteins play central roles in both embryonic and post-embryonic developmental patterning in both vertebrates and insects, and we demonstrate a broad requirement during planarian regeneration. We observe that Smed-pbx has pleiotropic functions during regeneration, with a primary role in patterning the anterior-posterior (AP) axis and AP polarity. Smed-pbx is required for expression of polarity determinants notum and wnt1 and for correct patterning of the structures polarized along the AP axis, such as the brain, pharynx and gut. Overall, our data suggest that Smed-pbx functions as a central integrator of positional information to drive patterning of regeneration along the body axis.