staff

Wanda Christa Buzgariu

Associate scientist in Regeneration

  • T: +41 22 379 67 66
  • office 4047B (Sciences III)
  • Multi-functionality and plasticity characterize epithelial cells in Hydra. Tissue Barriers ;3(4):e1068908. 10.1080/21688370.2015.1068908. 1068908. PMC4681288.

    abstract

    Epithelial sheets, a synapomorphy of all metazoans but porifers, are present as 2 layers in cnidarians, ectoderm and endoderm, joined at their basal side by an extra-cellular matrix named mesoglea. In the Hydra polyp, epithelial cells of the body column are unipotent stem cells that continuously self-renew and concomitantly express their epitheliomuscular features. These multifunctional contractile cells maintain homeostasis by providing a protective physical barrier, by digesting nutrients, by selecting a stable microbiota, and by rapidly closing wounds. In addition, epithelial cells are highly plastic, supporting the adaptation of Hydra to physiological and environmental changes, such as long starvation periods where survival relies on a highly dynamic autophagy flux. Epithelial cells also play key roles in developmental processes as evidenced by the organizer activity they develop to promote budding and regeneration. We propose here an integrative view of the homeostatic and developmental aspects of epithelial plasticity in Hydra.

    view more details on Pubmed

  • Loss of neurogenesis in Hydra leads to compensatory regulation of neurogenic and neurotransmission genes in epithelial cells. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. 2016 Jan;371(1685):20150040. rstb.2015.0040. 10.1098/rstb.2015.0040. PMC4685579.

    abstract

    Hydra continuously differentiates a sophisticated nervous system made of mechanosensory cells (nematocytes) and sensory-motor and ganglionic neurons from interstitial stem cells. However, this dynamic adult neurogenesis is dispensable for morphogenesis. Indeed animals depleted of their interstitial stem cells and interstitial progenitors lose their active behaviours but maintain their developmental fitness, and regenerate and bud when force-fed. To characterize the impact of the loss of neurogenesis in Hydra, we first performed transcriptomic profiling at five positions along the body axis. We found neurogenic genes predominantly expressed along the central body column, which contains stem cells and progenitors, and neurotransmission genes predominantly expressed at the extremities, where the nervous system is dense. Next, we performed transcriptomics on animals depleted of their interstitial cells by hydroxyurea, colchicine or heat-shock treatment. By crossing these results with cell-type-specific transcriptomics, we identified epithelial genes up-regulated upon loss of neurogenesis: transcription factors (Dlx, Dlx1, DMBX1/Manacle, Ets1, Gli3, KLF11, LMX1A, ZNF436, Shox1), epitheliopeptides (Arminins, PW peptide), neurosignalling components (CAMK1D, DDCl2, Inx1), ligand-ion channel receptors (CHRNA1, NaC7), G-Protein Coupled Receptors and FMRFRL. Hence epitheliomuscular cells seemingly enhance their sensing ability when neurogenesis is compromised. This unsuspected plasticity might reflect the extended multifunctionality of epithelial-like cells in early eumetazoan evolution.

    view more details on Pubmed

  • Multifunctionality and plasticity characterize epithelial cells in Hydra DOI:10.1080/21688370.2015.1068908

    abstract

    Epithelial sheets, a synapomorphy of all metazoans but porifers, are present as 2 layers in cnidarians, ectoderm and endoderm, joined at their basal side by an extra-cellular matrix named mesoglea. In the Hydra polyp, epithelial cells of the body column are unipotent stem cells that continuously self-renew and concomitantly express their epitheliomuscular features. These multifunctional contractile cells maintain homeostasis by providing a protective physical barrier, by digesting nutrients, by selecting a stable microbiota, and by rapidly closing wounds. In addition, epithelial cells are highly plastic, supporting the adaptation of Hydra to physiological and environmental changes, such as long starvation periods where survival relies on a highly dynamic autophagy flux. Epithelial cells also play key roles in developmental processes as evidenced by the organizer activity they develop to promote budding and regeneration. We propose here an integrative view of the homeostatic and developmental aspects of epithelial plasticity in Hydra.

    see on external website

  • Injury-induced immune responses in Hydra. Semin. Immunol. 2014 Aug;26(4):277-94. S1044-5323(14)00061-X. 10.1016/j.smim.2014.06.004.

    abstract

    The impact of injury-induced immune responses on animal regenerative processes is highly variable, positive or negative depending on the context. This likely reflects the complexity of the innate immune system that behaves as a sentinel in the transition from injury to regeneration. Early-branching invertebrates with high regenerative potential as Hydra provide a unique framework to dissect how injury-induced immune responses impact regeneration. A series of early cellular events likely require an efficient immune response after amputation, as antimicrobial defence, epithelial cell stretching for wound closure, migration of interstitial progenitors toward the wound, cell death, phagocytosis of cell debris, or reconstruction of the extracellular matrix. The analysis of the injury-induced transcriptomic modulations of 2636 genes annotated as immune genes in Hydra identified 43 genes showing an immediate/early pulse regulation in all regenerative contexts examined. These regulations point to an enhanced cytoprotection via ROS signaling (Nrf, C/EBP, p62/SQSMT1-l2), TNFR and TLR signaling (TNFR16-like, TRAF2l, TRAF5l, jun, fos-related, SIK2, ATF1/CREB, LRRC28, LRRC40, LRRK2), proteasomal activity (p62/SQSMT1-l1, Ced6/Gulf, NEDD8-conjugating enzyme Ubc12), stress proteins (CRYAB1, CRYAB2, HSP16.2, DnaJB9, HSP90a1), all potentially regulating NF-κB activity. Other genes encoding immune-annotated proteins such as NPYR4, GTPases, Swap70, the antiproliferative BTG1, enzymes involved in lipid metabolism (5-lipoxygenase, ACSF4), secreted clotting factors, secreted peptidases are also pulse regulated upon bisection. By contrast, metalloproteinases and antimicrobial peptide genes largely follow a context-dependent regulation, whereas the protease inhibitor α2macroglobulin gene exhibits a sustained up-regulation. Hence a complex immune response to injury is linked to wound healing and regeneration in Hydra.

    view more details on Pubmed

  • Robust G2 pausing of adult stem cells in Hydra. Differentiation ;87(1-2):83-99. S0301-4681(14)00011-5. 10.1016/j.diff.2014.03.001.

    abstract

    Hydra is a freshwater hydrozoan polyp that constantly renews its two tissue layers thanks to three distinct stem cell populations that cannot replace each other, epithelial ectodermal, epithelial endodermal, and multipotent interstitial. These adult stem cells, located in the central body column, exhibit different cycling paces, slow for the epithelial, fast for the interstitial. To monitor the changes in cell cycling in Hydra, we established a fast and efficient flow cytometry procedure, which we validated by confirming previous findings, as the Nocodazole-induced reversible arrest of cell cycling in G2/M, and the mitogenic signal provided by feeding. Then to dissect the cycling and differentiation behaviors of the interstitial stem cells, we used the AEP_cnnos1 and AEP_Icy1 transgenic lines that constitutively express GFP in this lineage. For the epithelial lineages we used the sf-1 strain that rapidly eliminates the fast cycling cells upon heat-shock and progressively becomes epithelial. This study evidences similar cycling patterns for the interstitial and epithelial stem cells, which all alternate between the G2 and S-phases traversing a minimal G1-phase. We also found interstitial progenitors with a shorter G2 that pause in G1/G0. At the animal extremities, most cells no longer cycle, the epithelial cells terminally differentiate in G2 and the interstitial progenitors in G1/G0. At the apical pole ~80% cells are post-mitotic differentiated cells, reflecting the higher density of neurons and nematocytes in this region. We discuss how the robust G2 pausing of stem cells, maintained over weeks of starvation, may contribute to regeneration.

    view more details on Pubmed

  • Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy. Autophagy 2012 Apr;8(4):445-544. PMC3404883.

    abstract

    In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.

    view more details on Pubmed

  • Hydra, a versatile model to study the homeostatic and developmental functions of cell death. Int. J. Dev. Biol. 2012 ;56(6-8):593-604. 123499sr. 10.1387/ijdb.123499sr.

    abstract

    In the freshwater cnidarian polyp Hydra, cell death takes place in multiple contexts. Indeed apoptosis occurs during oogenesis and spermatogenesis, during starvation, and in early head regenerating tips, promoting local compensatory proliferation at the boundary between heterografts. Apoptosis can also be induced upon exposure to pro-apoptotic agents (colchicine, wortmannin), upon heat-shock in the thermosensitive sf-1 mutant, and upon wounding. In all these contexts, the cells that undergo cell death belong predominantly to the interstitial cell lineage, whereas the epithelial cells, which are rather resistant to pro-apoptotic signals, engulf the apoptotic bodies. Beside this clear difference between the interstitial and the epithelial cell lineages, the different interstitial cell derivatives also show noticeable variations in their respective apoptotic sensitivity, with the precursor cells appearing as the most sensitive to pro-apoptotic signals. The apoptotic machinery has been well conserved across evolution. However, its specific role and regulation in each context are not known yet. Tools that help characterize apoptotic activity in Hydra have recently been developed. Among them, the aposensor Apoliner initially designed in Drosophila reliably measures wortmannin-induced apoptotic activity in a biochemical assay. Also, flow cytometry and TUNEL analyses help identify distinctive features between wortmannin-induced and heat-shock induced apoptosis in the sf-1 strain. Thanks to the live imaging tools already available, Hydra now offers a model system with which the functions of the apoptotic machinery to maintain long-term homeostasis, stem cell renewal, germ cell production, active developmental processes and non-self response can be deciphered.

    view more details on Pubmed

  • Apoptotic cells provide an unexpected source of Wnt3 signaling to drive hydra head regeneration. Dev. Cell 2009 Aug;17(2):279-89. S1534-5807(09)00298-6. 10.1016/j.devcel.2009.07.014.

    abstract

    Decapitated Hydra regenerate their heads via morphallaxis, i.e., without significant contributions made by cell proliferation or interstitial stem cells. Indeed, Hydra depleted of interstitial stem cells regenerate robustly, and Wnt3 from epithelial cells triggers head regeneration. However, we find a different mechanism controlling regeneration after midgastric bisection in animals equipped with both epithelial and interstitial cell lineages. In this context, we see rapid induction of apoptosis and Wnt3 secretion among interstitial cells at the head- (but not foot-) regenerating site. Apoptosis is both necessary and sufficient to induce Wnt3 production and head regeneration, even at ectopic sites. Further, we identify a zone of proliferation beneath the apoptotic zone, reminiscent of proliferative blastemas in regenerating limbs and of compensatory proliferation induced by dying cells in Drosophila imaginal discs. We propose that different types of injuries induce distinct cellular modes of Hydra head regeneration, which nonetheless converge on a central effector, Wnt3.

    view more details on Pubmed

  • Autophagy in Hydra: a response to starvation and stress in early animal evolution. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 2009 Sep;1793(9):1432-43. S0167-4889(09)00082-2. 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2009.03.010.

    abstract

    The Hydra polyp provides a powerful model system to investigate the regulation of cell survival and cell death in homeostasis and regeneration as Hydra survive weeks without feeding and regenerates any missing part after bisection. Induction of autophagy during starvation is the main surviving strategy in Hydra as autophagic vacuoles form in most myoepithelial cells after several days. When the autophagic process is inhibited, animal survival is actually rapidly jeopardized. An appropriate regulation of autophagy is also essential during regeneration as Hydra RNAi knocked-down for the serine protease inhibitor Kazal-type (SPINK) gene Kazal1, exhibit a massive autophagy after amputation that rapidly compromises cell and animal survival. This excessive autophagy phenotype actually mimics that observed in the mammalian pancreas when SPINK genes are mutated, highlighting the paradigmatic value of the Hydra model system for deciphering pathological processes. Interestingly autophagy during starvation predominantly affects ectodermal epithelial cells and lead to cell survival whereas Kazal1(RNAi)-induced autophagy is restricted to endodermal digestive cells that rapidly undergo cell death. This indicates that distinct regulations that remain to be identified, are at work in these two contexts. Cnidarian express orthologs for most components of the autophagy and TOR pathways suggesting evolutionarily-conserved roles during starvation.

    view more details on Pubmed

  • Methods to investigate autophagy during starvation and regeneration in hydra. Meth. Enzymol. 2008 ;451():409-37. S0076-6879(08)03226-6. 10.1016/S0076-6879(08)03226-6.

    abstract

    In hydra, the regulation of the balance between cell death and cell survival is essential to maintain homeostasis across the animal and promote animal survival during starvation. Moreover, this balance also appears to play a key role during regeneration of the apical head region. The recent finding that autophagy is a crucial component of this balance strengthens the value of the Hydra model system to analyze the implications of autophagy in starvation, stress response and regeneration. We describe here how we adapted to Hydra some established tools to monitor steady-state autophagy. The ATG8/LC3 marker used in biochemical and immunohistochemical analyses showed a significant increase in autophagosome formation in digestive cells after 11 days of starvation. Moreover, the maceration procedure that keeps intact the morphology of the various cell types allows the quantification of the autophagosomes and autolysosomes in any cell type, thanks to the detection of the MitoFluor or LysoTracker dyes combined with the anti-LC3, anti-LBPA, and/or anti-RSK (ribosomal S6 kinase) immunostaining. The classical activator (rapamycin) and inhibitors (wortmannin, bafilomycin A(1)) of autophagy also appear to be valuable tools to modulate autophagy in hydra, as daily-fed and starved hydra display slightly different responses. Finally, we show that the genetic circuitry underlying autophagy can be qualitatively and quantitatively tested through RNA interference in hydra repeatedly exposed to double-stranded RNAs.

    view more details on Pubmed

Nothing to show yet