The Flatworm Macrostomum lignano Is a Powerful Model Organism for Ion Channel and Stem Cell Research

D. Simanov, I. Mellaart-Straver, I. Sormacheva, E. Berezikov

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Bioelectrical signals generated by ion channels play crucial roles in many cellular processes in both excitable and nonexcitable cells. Some ion channels are directly implemented in chemical signaling pathways, the others are involved in regulation of cytoplasmic or vesicular ion concentrations, pH, cell volume, and membrane potentials. Together with ion transporters and gap junction complexes, ion channels form steady-state voltage gradients across the cell membranes in nonexcitable cells. These membrane potentials are involved in regulation of such processes as migration guidance, cell proliferation, and body axis patterning during development and regeneration. While the importance of membrane potential in stem cell maintenance, proliferation, and differentiation is evident, the mechanisms of this bioelectric control of stem cell activity are still not well understood, and the role of specific ion channels in these processes remains unclear. Here we introduce the flatworm Macrostomum lignano as a versatile model organism for addressing these topics. We discuss biological and experimental properties of M. lignano, provide an overview of the recently developed experimental tools for this animal model, and demonstrate how manipulation of membrane potential influences regeneration in M. lignano.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167265
JournalStem Cells International
Volume2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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