Regeneration in insects

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 1999 Aug;10(4):365-75. doi: 10.1006/scdb.1999.0323.


@9cIntroduction@21T issues exhibit an impressive ability to respond to a myriad of insults by repairing and regenerating complex structures. The elegant and orderly process of regeneration provides clues to the mechanisms of pattern formation but also offers the hope that the process might one day be manipulated to replace damaged body parts. To manipulate the process, it will be necessary to understand the genetic basis of the process. In the case of the insect leg, we are coming close to such a level of understanding and many of the lessons learned are relevant to vertebrate systems. A dynamic web of gene regulatory networks appears to create a robust self-organizing system that is at once extremely intricate but also perhaps simple in its reliance on a few key signaling pathways and a few simple processes, e.g. autoactivation and lateral inhibition. Here we will summarize what has been learned about the networks of gene regulation present in the Drosophila leg discs and then we will explore how the regenerative responses to different insults can be understood as predictable responses to these networks. Each of the regulatory networks could themselves serve as the subject of a detailed review and that is beyond the scope of this discussion. Here we will focus on the interplay between the regulatory networks in patterning the tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Drosophila / physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Extremities / growth & development
  • Extremities / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Insect
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / physiology
  • Insecta / genetics
  • Insecta / growth & development
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Models, Biological
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology
  • Regeneration*
  • Wnt1 Protein


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • dpp protein, Drosophila
  • wg protein, Drosophila