Int. J. Dev. Biol. 56: 117 - 125 (2012)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.113440sm
© UPV/EHU Press

Heterogeneity of planarian stem cells in the S/G2/M phase

Sören Moritz1, Franziska Stöckle1, Claudia Ortmeier1, Henning Schmitz1, Gustavo Rodríguez-Esteban2, Göran Key3 and Luca Gentile*,1

1Planarian Stem Cell Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster, Germany, 2University of Barcelona, Department of Genetics, IBUB, Barcelona, Spain and 3Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster, Germany

ABSTRACT The planarian adult stem cell (pASC) population has a specific molecular signature and can be easily visualized and isolated by flow cytometry. However, the lack of antibodies against specific surface markers for planarian cells prevents a deeper analysis of specific cell populations. Here, if we describe the results of the immunoscreening of pASC plasma membrane proteins (PMPs). A novel papain-based method for planarian cell dissociation enabling both high yield and improved cell viability was used to generate single cell preparations for PMP purification. PMPs were used for intraperitoneal immunization of mice and thus about 1000 hybridoma clones were generated and screened. Supernatants collected from the hybridoma clones were first screened by ELISA and then by live immuno-staining. About half of these supernatants stained all the planarian cells, whereas the other half specifically labeled a subfraction thereof. A detailed analysis of two hybridoma supernatants revealed that large subfractions of the X1, X2 and Xin populations differentially express specific membrane markers. Quantitative PCR data disclosed a correlation between the immunostaining results and the expression of markers of the early and late progeny, also for those pASCs in the S/G2/M phase of the cell cycle (X1 population). Thus, about two thirds of the cycling pASCs showed a specific membrane signature coupled with the expression of markers hitherto considered to be restricted to differentiating, post-mitotic progeny. In summary, a library of 66 monoclonal antibodies against planarian PMPs was generated. The analysis of two of the clones generated revealed that a subset of cells of the X1 population expresses early and late progeny markers, which might indicate that these cells are committed while still proliferating. The findings demonstrate the usefulness of our PMP antibody library for planarian research.


stem cell heterogeneity, cell surface marker, mAb library, planarian

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