Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A proteomics approach to decipher the molecular nature of planarian stem cells

Enrique Fernández-Taboada, Gustavo Rodríguez-Esteban, Emili Saló* and Josep F Abril*

Author Affiliations

Departament de Genètica and Institute of Biomedicine (IBUB), Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 645, 08028, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genomics 2011, 12:133  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-133

Published: 28 February 2011



In recent years, planaria have emerged as an important model system for research into stem cells and regeneration. Attention is focused on their unique stem cells, the neoblasts, which can differentiate into any cell type present in the adult organism. Sequencing of the Schmidtea mediterranea genome and some expressed sequence tag projects have generated extensive data on the genetic profile of these cells. However, little information is available on their protein dynamics.


We developed a proteomic strategy to identify neoblast-specific proteins. Here we describe the method and discuss the results in comparison to the genomic high-throughput analyses carried out in planaria and to proteomic studies using other stem cell systems. We also show functional data for some of the candidate genes selected in our proteomic approach.


We have developed an accurate and reliable mass-spectra-based proteomics approach to complement previous genomic studies and to further achieve a more accurate understanding and description of the molecular and cellular processes related to the neoblasts.