Molecular and Cellular Basis of Regeneration and Tissue Repair
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Nymphs of hemimetabolous insects such as cockroaches and crickets exhibit a remarkable capacity for regenerating complex structures from damaged legs. Until recent years, however, approaches to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the leg regeneration process have been lacking. Taking the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus as a model, we found that a phenotype related to regeneration frequently appears during leg regeneration, even though no phenotype is induced by RNA interference (RNAi) in the cricket nymph, designated as regeneration-dependent RNAi. Since then, we have investigated the functions of various genes encoding signaling factors and cellular adhesion proteins like Fat and Dachsous during leg regeneration. In this review, we summarize the classical knowledge about insect leg regeneration and introduce recent advances concerning the signaling cascades required for regenerating a leg. Our results provide clues to the mechanisms of regeneration which are relevant to vertebrate systems.