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Dev Biol. 2010 Aug 1;344(1):331-45. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.05.517. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

Notch signalling defines critical boundary during budding in Hydra.

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


Boundary formation is an important mechanism of development and has been studied in a number of bilaterian model organisms where it is often controlled by Notch, FGF and Wnt signalling. Tissue boundaries are also formed in simple pre-bilaterian animals. The boundary between parent and bud during asexual reproduction in the fresh water polyp Hydra vulgaris is an example. The Hydra homolog of the FGF-receptor FGFR (kringelchen) and some components of the Wnt signalling pathway are expressed at this boundary, but their precise functions are unknown. In this work we have discovered an important role for Notch signalling at this boundary. Notch signalling is needed to sharpen the kringelchen expression zone during the final budding stages from an initially broad band into a clear line demarcating the boundary between bud and parent. Expression of the Notch target gene HyHes and the putative matrix metalloprotease MMP-A3 was observed at the boundary shortly before the bud began to constrict and differentiate foot cells. When Notch signalling was inhibited with the presenilin inhibitor DAPT the expression pattern for kringelchen changed dramatically into a diffused pattern. The expression of both HyHes and MMP-A3 was abolished. Moreover, morphogenesis of the bud was not completed and buds did not constrict, failed to form a foot and never detached from the parent. This resulted in the formation of two-headed animals. We suggest that the function of Notch signalling during budding in Hydra is in promoting the formation of two stripes of differing gene expression, which are needed to differentiate the foot of the bud and a progressing narrowing of the mesoglea on the side of the parent.

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