Transcriptome analysis of the planarian eye identifies ovo as a specific regulator of eye regeneration

Cell Rep. 2012 Aug 30;2(2):294-307. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2012.06.018. Epub 2012 Aug 2.


Among the millions of invertebrate species with visual systems, the genetic basis of eye development and function is well understood only in Drosophila melanogaster. We describe an eye transcriptome for the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Planarian photoreceptors expressed orthologs of genes required for phototransduction and microvillus structure in Drosophila and vertebrates, and optic pigment cells expressed solute transporters and melanin synthesis enzymes similar to those active in the vertebrate retinal pigment epithelium. Orthologs of several planarian eye genes, such as bestrophin-1 and Usher syndrome genes, cause eye defects in mammals when perturbed and were not previously described to have roles in invertebrate eyes. Five previously undescribed planarian eye transcription factors were required for normal eye formation during head regeneration. In particular, a conserved, transcription-factor-encoding ovo gene was expressed from the earliest stages of eye regeneration and was required for regeneration of all cell types of the eye.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Eye / metabolism*
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics
  • Helminth Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Planarians / genetics
  • Planarians / metabolism*
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcriptome / physiology*


  • Helminth Proteins
  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/JX091074
  • GENBANK/JX091075
  • GENBANK/JX091076
  • GENBANK/JX091077
  • GENBANK/JX091078