Neuropeptide signalling in regenerating arms: echinoderms as model systems 


Echinoderms (e.g. starfish, brittle stars) have an amazing capacity to regenerate amputated/autotomized arms. The nervous system has a key role in this process, with peptidergic neurons invading regenerating tissue soon after wound healing. In this project, the brittle star Amphiura filiformis and the starfish Asterias rubens will be used as model systems to perform the first comprehensive investigation of neuropeptide expression and function during arm regeneration. This will yield important new insights into the molecular and cellular mechanisms of tissue regeneration. The project will be co-supervised by Elphick and Oliveri, who have complementary expertise in neuropeptide signalling and echinoderm regeneration.


Semmens DC, Mirabeau O, Moghul I, Pancholi MR, Wurm Y, Elphick MR (2016) Transcriptomic identification of starfish neuropeptide precursors yields new insights into neuropeptide evolution. Open Biology Vol 6(2) 150224.


Czarkwiani A, Ferrario C, Dylus DV, Sugni M, Oliveri P. (2016) Skeletal regeneration in the brittle star Amphiura filiformis. Frontiers in Zoology 13, 18.


Semmens DC, Dane RE, Pancholi MR, Slade SE, Scrivens JH, Elphick MR (2013) Discovery of a novel neurophysin-associated neuropeptide that triggers cardiac stomach contraction and retraction in starfish. J Exp. Biol. 216, 4047-4053.


Czarkwiani A, Dylus DV, Oliveri P. (2013) Expression of skeletogenic genes during arm regeneration in the brittle star Amphiura filiformis. Gene Expr Patterns. 13(8):464-72.


Moss C, Hunter AJ, Thorndyke MC (1998) Patterns of bromodeoxyuridine incorporation and neuropeptide immunoreactivity during arm regeneration in the starfish Asterias rubens. Phil.Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 353, 421-436.

Biological Areas:



Animal disease, health and welfare