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Methods for the Study of Regeneration in Stentor.

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Cells need to be able to regenerate their parts to recover from external perturbations. The unicellular ciliate Stentor coeruleus is an excellent model organism to study wound healing and subsequent cell regeneration. The Stentor genome became available recently, along with modern molecular biology methods, such as RNAi. These tools make it possible to study single-cell regeneration at the molecular level. The first section of the protocol covers establishing Stentor cell cultures from single cells or cell fragments, along with general guidelines for maintaining Stentor cultures. Culturing Stentor in large quantities allows for the use of valuable tools like biochemistry, sequencing, and mass spectrometry. Subsequent sections of the protocol cover different approaches to inducing regeneration in Stentor. Manually cutting cells with a glass needle allows studying the regeneration of large cell parts, while treating cells with either sucrose or urea allows studying the regeneration of specific structures located at the anterior end of the cell. A method for imaging individual regenerating cells is provided, along with a rubric for staging and analyzing the dynamics of regeneration. The entire process of regeneration is divided in three stages. By visualizing the dynamics of the progression of a population of cells through the stages, the heterogeneity in regeneration timing is demonstrated.

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