Robust G2 pausing of adult stem cells in Hydra

Differentiation. 2014 Jan-Feb;87(1-2):83-99. doi: 10.1016/j.diff.2014.03.001. Epub 2014 Apr 2.


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.

Keywords: AEP_cnnos1 and AEP_Icy1 transgenic Hydra; Cell cycling; Epithelial stem cells; Flow cytometry method; G2 pausing; Interstitial stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • G2 Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / genetics*
  • Hydra / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Regeneration / genetics