Regeneration requires surviving cells to mount a response that promotes localized proliferation and repatterning to replace lost and damaged tissue. In Drosophila, the larval imaginal discs regenerate through the formation of a blastema, a zone of localized cell proliferation and increased cellular plasticity.
Critical genetic program for Drosophila imaginal disc regeneration revealed by single-cell analysis. Identified two regeneration-specific cell populations within the blastema. They are each composed of cells that upregulate multiple genes encoding secreted proteins that promote regeneration. The transcription factor Ets21C controls the expression of multiple regeneration-promoting genes in this regenerative secretory zone. Ets21C-dependent gene regulatory network is necessary for effective regeneration.