The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 56: 509 - 517 (2012)

Vol 56, Issue 6-7-8

Special Issue: The Hydra Model System

Stemness in Hydra - a current perspective

Published: 5 June 2012

Bert Hobmayer*,1, Marcell Jenewein1, Dominik Eder1, Marie-Kristin Eder1, Stella Glasauer1, Sabine Gufler1, Markus Hartl2 and Willi Salvenmoser1

1Department for Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Institute of Zoology and Center for Molecular Biosciences, University of Innsbruck and 2Institute of Biochemistry and Center for Molecular Biosciences, University of Innsbruck, Austria


Hydra is a classic and simple model for pattern formation and regeneration research. More recently, it has also been promoted as a model to study ancestral stem cell biology. Three independent cell lineages form the body of the polyp and exhibit characteristics of stem cell systems. In order to define differences in stemness between the ectodermal and endodermal epitheliomuscular cell lineages and the interstitial cell lineage, we compare cellular properties and decision making. We argue that these three lineages are expected to show substantial variation in their stemness-related gene regulatory networks. Finally, we discuss Wnt signalling pathways and Myc oncoproteins, which are beginning to offer a perspective on how proliferation and differentiation might be regulated.


Cnidaria, stem cell, self-renewal, Wnt, Myc

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