Further characterization of the PW peptide family that inhibits neuron differentiation in Hydra

Dev Genes Evol. 2009 Mar;219(3):119-29. doi: 10.1007/s00427-009-0272-1. Epub 2009 Jan 30.


From an evolutionary point of view, Hydra has one of the most primitive nervous systems among metazoans. Two different groups of peptides that affect neuron differentiation were identified in a systematic screening of peptide signaling molecules in Hydra. Within the first group of peptides, a neuropeptide, Hym-355, was previously shown to positively regulate neuron differentiation. The second group of peptides encompasses the PW family of peptides that negatively regulate neuron differentiation. In this study, we identified the gene encoding PW peptide preprohormone. Moreover, we made the antibody that specifically recognizes LPW. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical analyses showed that the PW peptides and the gene encoding them were expressed in ectodermal epithelial cells throughout the body except for the basal disk. The PW peptides are produced by epithelial cells and are therefore termed "epitheliopeptides." Together with Hym-355, the PW family peptides mediate communication between neurons and epithelial cells and thereby maintain a specific density of neurons in Hydra.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Hydra / chemistry*
  • Hydra / cytology*
  • Hydra / genetics
  • Hydra / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neuropeptides / genetics*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*


  • Neuropeptides