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The capacity to regenerate damaged tissues, such as the heart, various enormously amongst species. While heart regeneration is generally very low in mammals, it can regenerate efficiently in certain amphibian and fish species. Zebrafish has been used extensively to study heart regeneration, resulting in the identification of proliferating cardiomyocytes that drive this process. However, mechanisms that drive cardiomyocyte proliferation are largely unknown. Here, using a single-cell mRNA-sequencing approach, we find a transcriptionally distinct population of dedifferentiated and proliferating cardiomyocytes in regenerating zebrafish hearts. While adult cardiomyocytes are known to rely on mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) for energy production, these proliferating cardiomyocytes show reduced mitochondrial gene expression and decreased OXPHOS activity. Strikingly, we find that genes encoding rate-limiting enzymes of the glycolysis pathway are induced in the proliferating cardiomyocytes, and inhibiting glycolysis impairs cardiomyocyte cell cycle reentry. Mechanistically, glycolytic gene expression is induced by Nrg1/Erbb2 signaling, and this is conserved in a mouse model of enhanced regeneration. Moreover, inhibiting glycolysis in murine cardiomyocytes abrogates the mitogenic effects of Nrg1/ErbB2 signaling. Together these results reveal a conserved mechanism in which cardiomyocytes undergo metabolic reprogramming by activating glycolysis, which is essential for cell cycle reentry and heart regeneration. This could ultimately help develop therapeutic interventions that promote the regenerative capacity of the mammalian heart.

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