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Regeneration of complex structures in adult vertebrates – Maximina Yun

Humans exhibit rather limited capabilities for tissue repair and regeneration. In contrast, organisms with remarkable regenerative abilities can be found in nature. Among these, salamanders (such as newts and axolotls) are considered the champions of regeneration, being able to regrow an extraordinary range of complex structures including ocular tissues, tail, jaws, large sections of their heart, parts of their nervous system, and entire limbs throughout their life. As such, the salamander constitutes an ideal system in which to learn how accurate regeneration of body structures can be achieved. Our lab aims to exploit this system in order to determine what cellular and molecular factors underlie the ability to regenerate complex structures and how changes through phylogeny and ageing affect regenerative potential. These are important areas for investigation, progress with which will deliver both fundamental and therapeutic insights.

Fig.: New muscle cells undergoing dedifferentiation. Serum-stimulated myotubes (red) re-enter the cell cycle, as indicated by their high levels of phosphorylated Rb (green). MH Yun, 2014.

Previous and current research

Our research programme focuses on three research topics: the mechanisms underlying the plasticity of the differentiated state, the role and regulation of senescence during regeneration and the role of the immune system in regenerative contexts.

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Future projects and goals

The aims of our ongoing and future research are

  • Understanding the molecular basis of cellular plasticity
  • Role and regulation of cellular senescence in regeneration and tissue repair
  • Role of the immune response in regenerative contexts

Group leader

Selected publications

Davaapil H, Brockes JP, Yun MH (2017). 'Conserved and novel functions of cellular senescence during vertebrate development'. Development. 144 (1): 106-114.

Yun MH (2015) Changes in regenerative capacity through lifespan. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 16(10): 25392-25432

Yun MH, Davaapil H, Brockes JP (2015) Recurrent turnover of senescent cells during regeneration of a complex structure. eLife. 4 (2015).

Yun MH, Gates PB, Brockes JP(2014) Sustained ERK activation underlies reprogramming of regeneration-competent salamander cells and distinguishes them from their mammalian counterparts. Stem Cell Reports. 3(1): 15-23.

Yun MH, Gates PB, Brockes JP (2013) Regulation of p53 is critical for vertebrate limb regeneration. PNAS. 110 (43):17392-7.

Group members

Contact

Group Leader

Dr. Maximina Yun

Assistant to Group Leader

Jana Fischer