Dataset for: Serotonin is essential for eye regeneration in planaria Schmidtea mediterranea

Planaria is an ideal system to study factors involved in regeneration and tissue homeostasis. Little is known about the role of metabolites and small molecules, in stem cell maintenance and lineage specification in planarians. Using LC-MS-based quantitative metabolomics, we determined the relative levels of metabolites in stem cells, progenitors, and differentiated cells of planarian S.mediterranea. Tryptophan and its metabolic product serotonin are significantly enriched in stem cells and progenitor population. Serotonin biosynthesis in these cells is brought about by a non-canonical enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH). Knockdown of Smed-pah leads to complete disappearance of eyes in regenerating planaria while exogenous supply of serotonin and its precursor rescued the eyeless phenotype. Our results demonstrate a key role for serotonin in eye regeneration.