The growth and patterning of anatomical structures from specific cellular fields in developing organisms relies on organizing centers that instruct surrounding cells to modify their behavior, namely migration, proliferation, and differentiation. We discuss here how organizers can form in adult organisms, a process of utmost interest for regenerative medicine. Animals like Hydra and planarians, which maintain their shape and fitness thanks to a highly dynamic homeostasis, offer a useful paradigm to study adult organizers in steady-state conditions. Beside the homeostatic context, these model systems also offer the possibility to study how organizers form de novo from somatic adult tissues. Both extracellular matrix remodeling and caspase activation play a key role in this transition, acting as promoters of organizer formation in the vicinity of the wound. Their respective roles and the crosstalk between them just start to be deciphered.
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