Hedgehog and Wnt coordinate signaling in myogenic progenitors and regulate limb regeneration

Dev Biol. 2012 Nov 1;371(1):23-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2012.07.033. Epub 2012 Aug 10.


Amphibians have a remarkable capacity for limb regeneration. Following a severe injury, there is complete regeneration with restoration of the patterning and cellular architecture of the amputated limb. While studies have focused on the structural anatomical changes during amphibian limb regeneration, the signaling mechanisms that govern cellular dedifferentiation and blastemal progenitors are unknown. Here, we demonstrate the temporal and spatial requirement for hedgehog (Hh) signaling and its hierarchical correlation with respect to Wnt signaling during newt limb regeneration. While the dedifferentiation process of mature lineages does not depend on Hh signaling, the proliferation and the migration of the dedifferentiated cells are dependent on Hh signaling. Temporally controlled chemical inactivation of the Hh pathway indicates that Hh-mediated antero-posterior (AP) specification occurs early during limb regeneration and that Hh is subsequently required for expansion of the blastemal progenitors. Inhibition of Hh signaling results in G0/G1 arrest with a concomitant reduction in S-phase and G2/M population in myogenic progenitors. Furthermore, Hh inhibition leads to reduced Pax7-positive cells and fewer regenerating fibers relative to control tissue. We demonstrate that activation of Wnt signaling rescues the inhibition of Hh pathway mainly by enhancing proliferative signals, possibly mediated through TCF4 activity. Collectively, our results demonstrate coordinated signaling of Hh and Wnt activities in regulating blastemal progenitors and their hierarchical positioning during limb regeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Extremities / physiology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Luciferases
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Muscle Development / physiology*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Salamandridae / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*


  • DNA Primers
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Luciferases