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Development. 2005 Jun;132(12):2907-16.

Formation of the head organizer in hydra involves the canonical Wnt pathway.

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Department of Developmental and Cell Biology and the Developmental Biology Center, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.


Stabilization of beta-catenin by inhibiting the activity of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta has been shown to initiate axis formation or axial patterning processes in many bilaterians. In hydra, the head organizer is located in the hypostome, the apical portion of the head. Treatment of hydra with alsterpaullone, a specific inhibitor of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta, results in the body column acquiring characteristics of the head organizer, as measured by transplantation experiments, and by the expression of genes associated with the head organizer. Hence, the role of the canonical Wnt pathway for the initiation of axis formation was established early in metazoan evolution.

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