The Ambystoma mexicanum or “Mexican salamander” is a superhero of regeneration and can functionally regenerate multiple body parts without forming scar tissue. In the MBL’s Echeverri Lab, scientists studying these animals hope to decipher how the cells in these animals respond to injury in the spinal cord, limbs, and skin at the cellular and molecular level, and how that process differs from healing in humans, who can’t regenerate.
MBL Associate Scientist Karen Echeverri and her lab are identifying critical molecules, regulatory pathways and cellular processes in the axolotls underlying scar-free regeneration.
(ID Card Photo Credit: Karen Echeverri | Equipment: iPhone)
o It can regenerate limbs, spinal cords, parts of the brain and heart throughout life.
o The Ambystoma mexicanum is unusual among amphibians in that it reaches adulthood without going through metamorphosis.
o It is only native to one lake (Lake Xochimilco) in Mexico.
Learn more about axolotls at the MBL
Superstars of Regeneration | The Washington Post
Axolotls & Regeneration | MBLSciShoots
Scientists Identify Gene Partnership that Promote Spinal Cord Regeneration | MBL.edu
Sabin KZ, Jiang P, Gearhart MD, Stewart R, Echeverri K. AP-1cFos/JunB/miR-200a regulate the pro-regenerative glial cell response during axolotl spinal cord regeneration. Commun Biol. 2019 Mar 6;2:91. doi.org/10.1038/s42003-019-0335-4
Erickson JR, Echeverri K. Learning from regeneration research organisms: The circuitous road to scar free wound healing. Dev Biol. 2018 Jan 15;433(2):144-154. doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2017.09.025
Echeverri K. The various routes to functional regeneration in the central nervous system. Commun Biol. 2020 Jan 29;3(1):47. doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-0773-z
Erickson JR, Gearhart MD, Honson DD, Reid TA, Gardner MK, Moriarity BS, Echeverri K. A novel role for SALL4 during scar-free wound healing in axolotl. NPJ Regen Med. 2016;1:16016–. doi.org/10.1038/npjregenmed.2016.16
Deuterostomia may not sound familiar, but it should: you are a deuterostome! Most deuterostomes belong to one of two groups that include most of its members—echinoderms, which includes animals such as the spiny-skinned starfish, sea urchins, and their relatives, and chordates, which include fish and other vertebrates (including humans). Learn more
Meet the Other Deuterostome Organisms
What is MBL March Madness?
Based on the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament, during MBL March Madness, popular MBL organisms face off for your votes. YOU have the opportunity to decide what organism is crowned victorious by voting for your favorite organisms in a series of head-to-head match-ups. Voting will take place on the MBL social media channels from March 29 – April 7.
Learn more and download a bracket at mbl.edu/march-madness
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