Dynamic gene expression profiles during arm regeneration in the brittle star Amphiura filiformis
Echinoderms and in particular brittle stars display a remarkable ability to regenerate lost or damaged tissues.
They offer an excellent model in which to study regeneration displaying extensive regenerative ability and
close relationship to vertebrates providing the opportunity for comparative studies. Previous studies of gene
expression during arm regeneration in brittle stars have focused on single genes commonly associated with
the regenerative process. In this study we present the first microarray investigation of gene expression during
arm regeneration in the brittle star Amphiura filiformis. We show the large-scale gene expression changes
associated with the complex process of regeneration with over 50% of the clones measured showing a
significant change at some point during the process when compared to non-regenerating arms. Particular
attention is paid to genes associated with Hox gene expression regulation, neuronal development and the
bone morphogenic protein BMP-1. Our data give an insight into the molecular control required during the
various stages of regeneration from the stem cell rich blastema stage through to the highly differentiated
regenerate. This work also forms an important basis for future gene expression investigations in this emerging
model of limb regeneration.