Intestine-enriched apolipoprotein b orthologs are required for stem cell progeny differentiation and regeneration in planarians

Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 1;13(1):3803. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-31385-2.


Lipid metabolism plays an instructive role in regulating stem cell state and differentiation. However, the roles of lipid mobilization and utilization in stem cell-driven regeneration are unclear. Planarian flatworms readily restore missing tissue due to injury-induced activation of pluripotent somatic stem cells called neoblasts. Here, we identify two intestine-enriched orthologs of apolipoprotein b, apob-1 and apob-2, which mediate transport of neutral lipid stores from the intestine to target tissues including neoblasts, and are required for tissue homeostasis and regeneration. Inhibition of apob function by RNAi causes head regression and lysis in uninjured animals, and delays body axis re-establishment and regeneration of multiple organs in amputated fragments. Furthermore, apob RNAi causes expansion of the population of differentiating neoblast progeny and dysregulates expression of genes enriched in differentiating and mature cells in eight major cell type lineages. We conclude that intestine-derived lipids serve as a source of metabolites required for neoblast progeny differentiation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins / metabolism
  • Apolipoproteins B / genetics
  • Apolipoproteins B / metabolism
  • Intestines
  • Planarians* / physiology
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells*


  • Apolipoproteins
  • Apolipoproteins B