P3.78 Friday, Jan. 6 Identification of developmental genes involved in larval leg regeneration in the flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum LEE, A.K.*; SZE, C.C.; SUZUKI, Y.; Wellesley College; Wellesley College; Wellesley College email@example.com
Regeneration is widespread among the Metazoa. Understanding of the molecular process underlying this phenomenon has profound implications for current domains, such as regenerative medicine. To investigate the mechanisms of leg regeneration in a holometabolous insect, Tribolium castaneum, our lab has been studying the roles of a few candidate transcription factors, abrupt (ab), dachshund (dac), Distal-less (Dll), and spineless (ss) during larval limb regeneration. To understand the functions of these genes during regeneration, we used RNA interference (RNAi) to knockdown the expression of genes in larvae with ablated legs. Our study suggests that ab is essential for leg regeneration even though it is not required for embryonic leg formation. Dll and dac were found to be important for patterning the regenerating legs as well as normal embryonic legs. In contrast, ss was not necessary for either regenerative or embryonic leg development but played a role during adult leg metamorphosis. However, ss has been known to regulate the embryonic specification of antennae, and we found that knock-down of ss caused heteromorphic regeneration of amputated antennae into larval legs. Our results suggest that larval limb regeneration relies on genes activated during embryonic limb development, and that ab may have required a unique function during larval leg regeneration.