staff

Chrystelle Perruchoud

Research assistant in Regeneration

  • T: +41 22 379 67 59
  • office 4049B (Sciences III)
  • Loss of Neurogenesis in Aging Hydra. Dev Neurobiol 2019 05;79(5):479-496. 10.1002/dneu.22676. PMC6586502. NIHMS1019840.

    abstract

    In Hydra the nervous system is composed of neurons and mechanosensory cells that differentiate from interstitial stem cells (ISCs), which also provide gland cells and germ cells. The adult nervous system is actively maintained through continuous de novo neurogenesis that occurs at two distinct paces, slow in intact animals and fast in regenerating ones. Surprisingly Hydra vulgaris survive the elimination of cycling interstitial cells and the subsequent loss of neurogenesis if force-fed. By contrast, H. oligactis animals exposed to cold temperature undergo gametogenesis and a concomitant progressive loss of neurogenesis. In the cold-sensitive strain Ho_CS, this loss irreversibly leads to aging and animal death. Within four weeks, Ho_CS animals lose their contractility, feeding response, and reaction to light. Meanwhile, two positive regulators of neurogenesis, the homeoprotein prdl-a and the neuropeptide Hym-355, are no longer expressed, while the "old" RFamide-expressing neurons persist. A comparative transcriptomic analysis performed in cold-sensitive and cold-resistant strains confirms the downregulation of classical neuronal markers during aging but also shows the upregulation of putative regulators of neurotransmission and neurogenesis such as AHR, FGFR, FoxJ3, Fral2, Jagged, Meis1, Notch, Otx1, and TCF15. The switch of Fral2 expression from neurons to germ cells suggests that in aging animals, the neurogenic program active in ISCs is re-routed to germ cells, preventing de novo neurogenesis and impacting animal survival.

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  • An evolutionarily-conserved Wnt3/β-catenin/Sp5 feedback loop restricts head organizer activity in Hydra. Nat Commun 2019 01;10(1):312. 10.1038/s41467-018-08242-2. 10.1038/s41467-018-08242-2. PMC6338789.

    abstract

    Polyps of the cnidarian Hydra maintain their adult anatomy through two developmental organizers, the head organizer located apically and the foot organizer basally. The head organizer is made of two antagonistic cross-reacting components, an activator, driving apical differentiation and an inhibitor, preventing ectopic head formation. Here we characterize the head inhibitor by comparing planarian genes down-regulated when β-catenin is silenced to Hydra genes displaying a graded apical-to-basal expression and an up-regulation during head regeneration. We identify Sp5 as a transcription factor that fulfills the head inhibitor properties: leading to a robust multiheaded phenotype when knocked-down in Hydra, acting as a transcriptional repressor of Wnt3 and positively regulated by Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Hydra and zebrafish Sp5 repress Wnt3 promoter activity while Hydra Sp5 also activates its own expression, likely via β-catenin/TCF interaction. This work identifies Sp5 as a potent feedback loop inhibitor of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, a function conserved across eumetazoan evolution.

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