Purpose Notophthalmus viridescens, the red-spotted newt, possesses tremendous regenerative capabilities. Among the tissues and organs newts can regenerate, the lens is regenerated via transdifferentiation of the pigment epithelial cells of the dorsal iris, following complete removal (lentectomy). Under normal conditions, the same cells from the ventral iris are not capable of regenerating. This study aims to further understand the initial signals of lens regeneration. Methods We performed microarray analysis using RNA from a dorsal or ventral iris isolated 1, 3, and 5 days after lentectomy and compared to RNA isolated from an intact iris. This analysis was supported with quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) of selected genes. Results Microarrays showed 804 spots were differentially regulated 1, 3, and 5 days post-lentectomy in the dorsal and ventral iris. Functional annotation using Gene Ontology revealed interesting terms. Among them, factors related to cell cycle and DNA repair were mostly upregulated, in the microarray, 3 and 5 days post-lentectomy. qRT-PCR for rad1 and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 showed upregulation for the dorsal iris 3 and 5 days post- lentectomy and for the ventral iris 5 days post-lentectomy. Rad1 was also upregulated twofold more in the dorsal iris than in the ventral iris 5 days post-lentectomy (p<0.001). Factors related to redox homeostasis were mostly upregulated in the microarray in all time points and samples. qRT-PCR for glutathione peroxidase 1 also showed upregulation in all time points for the ventral and dorsal iris. For the most part, mitochondrial enzymes were downregulated with the notable exception of cytochrome c–related oxidases that were mostly upregulated at all time points. qRT-PCR for cytochrome c oxidase subunit 2 showed upregulation especially 3 days post-lentectomy for the dorsal and ventral iris (p<0.001). Factors related to extracellular matrix and tissue remodeling showed mostly upregulation (except collagen I) for all time points and samples. qRT-PCR for stromelysin 1/2 alpha and avidin showed upregulation in all the time points for the dorsal and ventral iris. Conclusions The results show that the dorsal iris and the ventral iris follow the same general pattern with some distinct differences especially 5 days after lentectomy. In addition, while the expression of genes involved in DNA repair, redox homeostasis, and tissue remodeling in preparation for proliferation and transdifferentiation is altered in the entire iris, the response is more prominent in the dorsal iris following lentectomy.