A quantitative metabolomics peek into planarian regeneration†
The fresh water planarian species Schmidtea mediterranea is an emerging stem cell model because of its capability to regenerate a whole animal from a small piece of tissue. It is one of the best model systems to address the basic mechanisms essential for regeneration. Here, we are interested in studying the roles of various amines, thiols and nucleotides in planarian regeneration, stem cell function and growth. We developed mass spectrometry based quantitative methods and validated the differential enrichment of 35 amines, 7 thiol metabolites and 4 nucleotides from both intact and regenerating planarians. Among the amines, alanine in sexual and asparagine in asexual are the highest (>1000 ng/mg) in the intact planarians. The levels of thiols such as cysteine and GSH are 651 and 1107 ng mg−1 in planarians. Among the nucleotides, the level of cGMP is the lowest (0.03 ng mg−1) and the level of AMP is the highest (187 ng mg−1) in both of the planarian strains. We also noticed increasing levels of amines in both anterior and posterior regenerating planarians. The blastema from day 3 regenerating planarians also showed higher amounts of many amines. Interestingly, the thiol (cysteine and GSH) levels are well maintained during planarian regeneration. This suggests an inherent and effective mechanism to control induced oxidative stress because of the robust regeneration and stem cell proliferation. Like in intact planarians, the level of cGMP is also very low in regenerating planarians. Surprisingly, the levels of amines and thiols in head regenerating blastemas are ∼3 times higher compared to those for tail regenerating blastemas. Thus our results strongly indicate the potential roles of amines, thiols and nucleotides in planarian regeneration.