Imaginal Disc Regeneration: Something Old, Something New

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2022 Nov 1;14(11):a040733. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a040733.


Imaginal discs are simple epithelial sacs found in Drosophila larvae, which generate adult structures including wings and legs. The first studies of imaginal disc regeneration involved technically challenging transplantation experiments. Yet despite the difficulty, many aspects of regeneration including wound healing, blastema formation, and the repatterning of regenerated tissue were characterized. An important discovery was the phenomenon of transdetermination, where a small group of cells in regenerating tissue collectively switch fate ("collective cell reprogramming"). The development of genetic tissue-ablation systems over the last 12 years has energized this field, by making experiments less technically challenging, more reproducible, and by incorporating additional genetic analysis. Recent progress includes defining mechanistic links between early responses to wounding and the signaling pathways that drive proliferation, uncovering a role for localized silencing of damage-responsive enhancers to limit regenerative capacity as tissues mature, and identifying genes that maintain cellular plasticity within acceptable limits during regeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins* / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Imaginal Discs* / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Wings, Animal / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins