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Dev Genes Evol. 2000 May;210(5):258-62.

Identification and characterization of the epithelial polarity receptor "Frizzled" in Hydra vulgaris.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66160-7400, USA.


The Wnt signaling pathway plays an important role in the specification of cell patterning during development in many species. Here we report the isolation and characterization of a putative Wnt receptor, Frizzled, in Hydra vulgaris. Analysis of the amino acid sequence of Frizzled in hydra reveals that this receptor contains many strong sequence similarities to other known Frizzled receptors. Hydra divergence is estimated to have occurred about one billion years ago; thus comparison of the Frizzled sequence of hydra with that of other species is likely to provide important information on the structure and function of those highly conserved regions. Northern and Southern blotting reveal that the Frizzled receptor in hydra has a 2.34-kb message size, and that it is encoded by a single gene. In situ hybridization using hydra frizzled as a probe reveals that the receptor message is restricted to the endoderm in adult hydra. This distribution supports the hypothesis that the Frizzled receptor is functioning in a pathway that controls cell differentiation in hydra.

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