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Genome-wide analysis of gene expression during Xenopus tropicalis tadpole tail regeneration

Nick R Love12, Yaoyao Chen12, Boyan Bonev1, Michael J Gilchrist3, Lynne Fairclough3, Robert Lea12, Timothy J Mohun3, Roberto Paredes12, Leo AH Zeef1 and Enrique Amaya12*

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PT UK

2 The Healing Foundation Centre, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford, Road, Manchester, M13 9PT UK

3 MRC National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, NW7 1AA UK

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BMC Developmental Biology 2011, 11:70  doi:10.1186/1471-213X-11-70

Published: 15 November 2011



The molecular mechanisms governing vertebrate appendage regeneration remain poorly understood. Uncovering these mechanisms may lead to novel therapies aimed at alleviating human disfigurement and visible loss of function following injury. Here, we explore tadpole tail regeneration in Xenopus tropicalis, a diploid frog with a sequenced genome.


We found that, like the traditionally used Xenopus laevis, the Xenopus tropicalis tadpole has the capacity to regenerate its tail following amputation, including its spinal cord, muscle, and major blood vessels. We examined gene expression using the Xenopus tropicalis Affymetrix genome array during three phases of regeneration, uncovering more than 1,000 genes that are significantly modulated during tail regeneration. Target validation, using RT-qPCR followed by gene ontology (GO) analysis, revealed a dynamic regulation of genes involved in the inflammatory response, intracellular metabolism, and energy regulation. Meta-analyses of the array data and validation by RT-qPCR and in situ hybridization uncovered a subset of genes upregulated during the early and intermediate phases of regeneration that are involved in the generation of NADP/H, suggesting that these pathways may be important for proper tail regeneration.


The Xenopus tropicalis tadpole is a powerful model to elucidate the genetic mechanisms of vertebrate appendage regeneration. We have produced a novel and substantial microarray data set examining gene expression during vertebrate appendage regeneration.