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Open Access Research article

Notochord-derived hedgehog is essential for tail regeneration in Xenopus tadpole

Yuka Taniguchi12*, Kenji Watanabe1 and Makoto Mochii1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Life Science, Graduate school of Life Science, University of Hyogo, 3-2-1 Koto, Kamigori Akou, Hyogo 678-1297, Japan

2 Present address: Technische Universit├Ąt Dresden, DFG-Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, Fetscherstrasse 105, Dresden 01307, Germany

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BMC Developmental Biology 2014, 14:27  doi:10.1186/1471-213X-14-27

Published: 18 June 2014



Appendage regeneration in amphibians is regulated by the combinatorial actions of signaling molecules. The requirement of molecules secreted from specific tissues is reflected by the observation that the whole process of regeneration can be inhibited if a certain tissue is removed from the amputated stump. Interestingly, urodeles and anurans show different tissue dependencies during tail regeneration. The spinal cord is essential for tail regeneration in urodele but not in anuran larva, whereas the notochord but not the spinal cord is essential for tail regeneration in anuran tadpoles. Sonic hedgehog is one of the signaling molecules responsible for such phenomenon in axolotl, as hedgehog signaling is essential for overall tail regeneration and sonic hedgehog is exclusively expressed in the spinal cord. In order to know whether hedgehog signaling is involved in the molecular mechanism underlying the inconsistent tissue dependency for tail regeneration between anurans and urodeles, we investigated expression of hedgehog signal-related genes in the regenerating tail of Xenopus tadpole and examined the effect of the hedgehog signal inhibitor, cyclopamine, on the tail regeneration.


In Xenopus, sonic hedgehog is expressed exclusively in the notochord but not in the spinal cord of the regenerate. Overall regeneration was severely impaired in cyclopamine-treated tadpoles. Notochord maturation in the regenerate, including cell alignment and vacuolation, and myofiber formation were inhibited. Proliferation of spinal cord cells in the neural ampulla and of mesenchymal cells was also impaired.


As in the axolotl, hedgehog signaling is required for multiple steps in tail regeneration in the Xenopus tadpole, although the location of the Shh source is quite different between the two species. This difference in Shh localization is the likely basis for the differing tissue requirement for tail regeneration between urodeles and anurans.

Xenopus; Tail regeneration; Hedgehog; Cyclopamine; Notochord; Spinal cord