Hydra freshwater polyps have a remarkable ability to regenerate after bisection or even after dissociation, and thus offer a unique model system to investigate the cellular and molecular basis of eumetazoan regeneration. From a single cut along the body column two different types of regeneration arise: foot regeneration from the apical part and head regeneration from the basal part. The high proportion of stem cells in the Hydra body column supports these fast and efficient processes. Grafting experiments proved that the gastric tissue in the head‐regenerating tip rapidly develops a de novo organising activity, as evidenced by the induction of an ectopic axis when transplanted onto a host. The molecular mechanisms involved in this transformation rely on the immediate activation of the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and the subsequent activation of the canonical Wnt3 pathway. This early phase is followed by a patterning phase, when head regeneration requires de novo neurogenesis.
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