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Aug 2004 Development (Cambridge, England)

Signalling by the FGFR-like tyrosine kinase, Kringelchen, is essential for bud detachment in Hydra vulgaris.


Sudhop S, Coulier F, Bieller A, Vogt A, Hotz T, Hassel M


Signalling through fibroblast growth factors (FGFR) is essential for proper morphogenesis in higher evolved triploblastic organisms. By screening for genes induced during morphogenesis in the diploblastic Hydra, we identified a receptor tyrosine kinase (kringelchen) with high similarity to FGFR tyrosine kinases. The gene is dynamically upregulated during budding, the asexual propagation of Hydra. Activation occurs in body regions, in which the intrinsic positional value changes. During tissue displacement in the early bud, kringelchen RNA is transiently present ubiquitously. A few hours later – coincident with the acquisition of organiser properties by the bud tip – a few cells in the apical tip express the gene strongly. About 20 hours after the onset of evagination, expression is switched on in a ring of cells surrounding the bud base, and shortly thereafter vanishes from the apical expression zone. The basal ring persists in the parent during tissue contraction and foot formation in the young polyp, until several hours after bud detachment. Inhibition of bud detachment by head regeneration results in severe distortion, disruption or even complete loss of the well-defined ring-like expression zone. Inhibition of FGFR signalling by SU5402 or, alternatively, inhibition of translation by phosphorothioate antisense oligonucleotides inhibited detachment of buds, indicating that, despite the dynamic expression pattern, the crucial phase for FGFR signalling in Hydra morphogenesis lies in bud detachment. Although Kringelchen groups with the FGFR family, it is not known whether this protein is able to bind FGFs, which have not been isolated from Hydra so far.

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