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Dev Biol. 2013 Nov 1;383(1):146-57. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.08.022. Epub 2013 Sep 6.

Notch-signalling is required for head regeneration and tentacle patterning in Hydra.

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Department of Biology 2, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany. Electronic address:


Local self-activation and long ranging inhibition provide a mechanism for setting up organising regions as signalling centres for the development of structures in the surrounding tissue. The adult hydra hypostome functions as head organiser. After hydra head removal it is newly formed and complete heads can be regenerated. The molecular components of this organising region involve Wnt-signalling and β-catenin. However, it is not known how correct patterning of hypostome and tentacles are achieved in the hydra head and whether other signals in addition to HyWnt3 are needed for re-establishing the new organiser after head removal. Here we show that Notch-signalling is required for re-establishing the organiser during regeneration and that this is due to its role in restricting tentacle activation. Blocking Notch-signalling leads to the formation of irregular head structures characterised by excess tentacle tissue and aberrant expression of genes that mark the tentacle boundaries. This indicates a role for Notch-signalling in defining the tentacle pattern in the hydra head. Moreover, lateral inhibition by HvNotch and its target HyHes are required for head regeneration and without this the formation of the β-catenin/Wnt dependent head organiser is impaired. Work on prebilaterian model organisms has shown that the Wnt-pathway is important for setting up signalling centres for axial patterning in early multicellular animals. Our data suggest that the integration of Wnt-signalling with Notch-Delta activity was also involved in the evolution of defined body plans in animals.


DAPT; Head organiser; Hydra; Notch; SAHM1

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