Expression and developmental regulation of the Hydra-RFamide and Hydra-LWamide preprohormone genes in Hydra: evidence for transient phases of head formation.
Hydra magnipapillata has three distinct genes coding for preprohormones A, B, and C, each yielding a characteristic set of Hydra-RFamide (Arg-Phe-NH2) neuropeptides, and a fourth gene coding for a preprohormone that yields various Hydra-LWamide (Leu-Trp-NH2) neuropeptides. Using a whole-mount double-labeling in situ hybridization technique, we found that each of the four genes is specifically expressed in a different subset of neurons in the ectoderm of adult Hydra. The preprohormone A gene is expressed in neurons of the tentacles, hypostome (a region between tentacles and mouth opening), upper gastric region, and peduncle (an area just above the foot). The preprohormone B gene is exclusively expressed in neurons of the hypostome, whereas the preprohormone C gene is exclusively expressed in neurons of the tentacles. The Hydra-LWamide preprohormone gene is expressed in neurons located in all parts of Hydra with maxima in tentacles, hypostome, and basal disk (foot). Studies on animals regenerating a head showed that the prepro-Hydra-LWamide gene is expressed first, followed by the preprohormone A and subsequently the preprohormone C and the preprohormone B genes. This sequence of events could be explained by a model based on positional values in a morphogen gradient. Our head-regeneration experiments also give support for transient phases of head formation: first tentacle-specific preprohormone C neurons (frequently associated with a small tentacle bud) appear at the center of the regenerating tip, which they are then replaced by hypostome-specific preprohormone B neurons. Thus, the regenerating tip first attains a tentacle-like appearance and only later this tip develops into a hypostome. In a developing bud of Hydra, tentacle-specific preprohormone C neurons and hypostome-specific preprohormone B neurons appear about simultaneously in their correct positions, but during a later phase of head development, additional tentacle-specific preprohormone C neurons appear as a ring at the center of the hypostome and then disappear again. Nerve-free Hydra consisting of only epithelial cells do not express the preprohormone A, B, or C or the LWamide preprohormone genes. These animals, however, have a normal phenotype, showing that the preprohormone A, B, and C and the LWamide genes are not essential for the basic pattern formation of Hydra. (+info)
Expression of a Hox gene, Cnox-2, and the division of labor in a colonial hydroid.
We report the isolation and expression of the Hox gene, Cnox-2, in Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus, a hydrozoan displaying division of labor. We found different patterns of aboral-to-oral Cnox-2 expression among polyp polymorphs, and we show that experimental conversion of one polyp type to another is accompanied by concordant alteration in Cnox-2 expression. Our results are consistent with the suggestion that polyp polymorphism, characteristic of hydractiniid hydroids, arose via evolutionary modification of proportioning of head to body column. (+info)
Modulation of Hydra attenuata rhythmic activity: phase response curve.
We investigated the effect of photic stimulation on the frequency of Hydra attenuata column contractions. We used positive or negative abrupt light transitions, single or repetitive light or darkness pulses, and alternation of light and darkness periods. The main results are: (a) The frequency of the contraction pulse trains (CPTs) varies transiently in response to an abrupt variation of the light intensity. (b) CPTs in progress can be inhibited by different types of photic stimuli. (c) The response time to a single photic stimulus varies during the inter-CPT interval and depends also on the polarity of the stimulus. (d) The CPTs are entrainable with repetitive light stimulation of various frequencies. (e) Long-lasting variations of the frequency of CPTs occur after the end of a repetitive light stimulation. We suggest that the mechanism responsible for the rhythym of column contractions is quite similar to that on which other biological rhythmic phenomena are based. (+info)
Interactions between the foot and bud patterning systems in Hydra vulgaris.
In the freshwater coelenterate, hydra, asexual reproduction via budding occurs at the base of the gastric region about two-thirds of the distance from the head to the foot. Developmental gradients of head and foot activation and inhibition originating from these organizing centers have long been assumed to control budding in hydra. Much has been learned over the years about these developmental gradients and axial pattern formation, and in particular, the inhibitory influence of the head on budding is well documented. However, understanding of the role of the foot and potential interactions between the foot, bud, and head patterning systems is lacking. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of the foot in the initiation of new axis formation during budding by manipulating the foot and monitoring effects on the onset of first bud evagination and the time necessary to reach the 50% budding point. Several experimental situations were examined: the lower peduncle and foot (PF) were injured or removed, a second PF was laterally grafted onto animals either basally (below the budding zone) or apically (above the budding zone), or both the head and PF were removed simultaneously. When the PF was injured or removed, the onset of first bud evagination was delayed and/or the time until the 50% budding point was reached was longer. The effects were more pronounced when the manipulation was performed closer to the anticipated onset of budding. When PF tissue was doubled, precocious bud evagination was induced, regardless of graft location. Removal of the PF at the same time as decapitation reduced the inductive effect of decapitation on bud evagination. These results are discussed in light of potential signals from the foot or interactions between the foot and head patterning systems that might influence bud axis initiation. (+info)
Interactions between the foot and the head patterning systems in Hydra vulgaris.
The Cnidarian, hydra, is an appealing model system for studying the basic processes underlying pattern formation. Classical studies have elucidated much basic information regarding the role of development gradients, and theoretical models have been quite successful at describing experimental results. However, most experiments and computer simulations have dealt with isolated patterning events such as the dynamics of head regeneration. More global events such as interactions among the head, bud, and foot patterning systems have not been extensively addressed. The characterization of monoclonal antibodies with position-specific labeling patterns and the recent cloning and characterization of genes expressed in position-specific manners now provide the tools for investigating global interactions between patterning systems. In particular, changes in the axial positional value gradient may be monitored in response to experimental perturbation. Rather than studying isolated patterning events, this approach allows us to study patterning over the entire animal. The studies reported here focus on interactions between the foot and the head patterning systems in Hydra vulgaris following induction of a foot in close proximity to a head, axial grafting of a foot closer to the head, or doubling the amount of basal tissue by lateral grafting of an additional peduncle-foot onto host animals. Resulting positional value changes as monitored by antigen (TS19) and gene (ks1 and CnNK-2) expression were assessed in the foot, head, and intervening tissue. The results of the experiments indicate that positional values changed rapidly, in a matter of hours, and that there were reciprocal interactions between the foot and the head patterning systems. Theoretical interpretations of the results in the form of computer simulations based on the reaction-diffusion model are presented and predict many, but not all, of the experimental observations. Since the lateral grafting experiment cannot, at present, be simulated, it is discussed in light of what has been learned from the axial grafting experiments and their simulations. (+info)
CnOtx, a member of the Otx gene family, has a role in cell movement in hydra.
Otx genes have been identified in a variety of organisms and are commonly associated with the patterning of anterior structures. In some vertebrates, Otx genes are also expressed in the prechordal mesoderm, where they may have a role in cell movement. Here we report the characterization of CnOtx, an Otx gene in hydra, thereby providing evidence that Otx genes appeared early in metazoan evolution. CnOtx is expressed at high levels in developing buds and aggregates, where it appears to have a role in the cell movements that are involved in the formation of new axes. Further, the gene is expressed at a low level throughout the body column of hydra. This latter pattern may reflect a role for CnOtx in specifying tissue as competent to be anterior, although the gene does not have a direct role in the formation of the head. (+info)
A head-activator binding protein is present in hydra in a soluble and a membrane-anchored form.
The neuropeptide head activator plays an important role for proliferation and determination of stem cells in hydra. By affinity chromatography a 200 kDa head-activator binding protein, HAB, was isolated from the multiheaded mutant of Chlorohydra viridissima. Partial amino acid sequences were used to clone the HAB cDNA which coded for a receptor with a unique alignment of extracellular modules, a transmembrane domain, and a short carboxy-terminal cytoplasmic tail. A mammalian HAB homologue with identical alignment of these modules is expressed early in brain development. Specific antibodies revealed the presence of HAB in hydra as a transmembrane receptor, but also as secreted protein, both capable of binding head activator. Secretion of HAB during regeneration and expression in regions of high determination potential hint at a role for HAB in regulating the concentration and range of action of head activator. (+info)
Circularly permuted variants of the green fluorescent protein.
Folding of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from Aequorea victoria is characterized by autocatalytic formation of its p-hydroxybenzylideneimidazolidone chromophore, which is located in the center of an 11-stranded beta-barrel. We have analyzed the in vivo folding of 20 circularly permuted variants of GFP and find a relatively low tolerance towards disruption of the polypeptide chain by introduction of new termini. All permuted variants with termini in strands of the beta-barrel and about half of the variants with termini in loops lost the ability to form the chromophore. The thermal stability of the permuted GFPs with intact chromophore is very similar to that of the wild-type, indicating that chromophore-side chain interactions strongly contribute to the extraordinary stability of GFP. (+info)