Foot formation in Hydra: Commitment of the basal disk cells in the lower peduncle

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Foot regeneration in the freshwater hydra Pelmatohydra robusta was examined using a monoclonal antibody AE03 as a marker. This antibody specifically recognizes mucous-producing ectodermal epithelial cells in the basal disk, but not cells in the peduncle region located just above the basal disk in the foot. When the basal disk was removed by amputation at the upper or lower part of the peduncle, AE03-positive (basal disk) cells always appeared at the regenerating tip of the footless polyp approximately 12-16 h later. When a small piece of tissue was cut out from the upper or lower peduncle region, the tissue invariably turned into a smooth spherical or oblong shape within a few hours. AE03 signal appeared in these spheres variably depending on their origin: when tissue pieces were derived from the lower peduncle, the signal appeared in nearly all pieces and often covered the entire surface of the pieces within 24 h. In contrast, the signal appeared in less than 10% of pieces derived from the upper peduncle. Furthermore, the signal seldom covered more than half of the surface of these pieces. When maintained for many days, pieces derived from the upper peduncle often regenerated tentacles, whereas those from the lower peduncle seldom did. These and other observations suggest that epithelial cells in the peduncle can rapidly differentiate into basal disk cells when the basal tissue is removed. However, cells in the upper peduncle are not irreversibly committed to differentiate into basal disk cells because, when cut out as small tissue pieces, they could remain AE03 negative and become tentacle cells. In contrast, the cells in the lower peduncle apparently are irreversibly committed to differentiate into basal disk cells, as they always turned rapidly into AE03-positive cells once they were physically separated from (and freed from the influence of) the basal disk itself, regardless of the separation methods used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-526
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopment Growth and Differentiation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2002


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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