Planarian stem cells specify fate yet retain potency during the cell cycle

Amelie A. Raz, Omri Wurtzel, Peter W. Reddien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Planarian whole-body regeneration is enabled by stem cells called neoblasts. At least some neoblasts are individually pluripotent. Neoblasts are also heterogeneous, with subpopulations of specialized neoblasts having different specified fates. Fate specification in neoblasts is regulated by fate-specific transcription factor (FSTF) expression. Here, we find that FSTF expression is common in neoblast S/G2/M cell-cycle phases but less common in G1. We find that specialized neoblasts can divide to produce progeny with asymmetric cell fates, suggesting that they could retain pluripotency. Furthermore, no known neoblast class was present in all neoblast colonies, suggesting that pluripotency is not the exclusive property of any known class. We tested this possibility with single-cell transplantations, which indicate that at least some specialized neoblasts are likely clonogenic. On the basis of these findings, we propose a model for neoblast pluripotency in which neoblasts can undergo specialization during the cell cycle without loss of potency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1307-1322.e5
JournalCell Stem Cell
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • cell cycle
  • cell fate
  • neoblasts
  • planarians
  • potency
  • regeneration
  • stem cells


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