Two homeobox genes, prdl-a and prdl-b, which were isolated from a Hydra vulgaris cDNA library, encode paired-like class homeodomains highly related to that of the aristaless-related genes. In adult polyps, prdl-b is a marker for synchronously dividing nematoblasts while prdl-a displays an expression restricted to the the nerve cell lineage of the head region. During budding and apical regeneration, an early and transient prdl-a expression was observed in endodermal cells of the stump at a time when the head organizer is established. When apical regeneration was delayed upon concomittant budding, prdl-a expression was found to be altered in the stump. Furthermore, a specific anti-prdl-a protein immunoserum revealed that prdl-a was overexpressed in adult polyps of the Chlorohydra viridissima multiheaded mutant, with an expression domain extending below the tentacle ring towards the body column. Accordingly, prdl-a DNA-binding activity was enhanced in nuclear extracts from this mutant. These results suggest that prdl-a responds to apical forming signals and might thus be involved in apical specification. When a marine hydrozoan (Podocorynae carnea) was used, the anti-prdl-a antibody showed cross-reactivity with cells located around the oral region, indicating that prdl-a function is shared by other cnidaria. The ancestral role for prdl-a-related genes in the molecular definition of the head (or oral-surrounding region) is discussed.
see on Pubmed