The polymorphism of Hydra microsatellite sequences provides strain-specific signatures

PLoS One. 2020 Sep 28;15(9):e0230547. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230547. eCollection 2020.


Hydra are freshwater polyps widely studied for their amazing regenerative capacity, adult stem cell populations, low senescence and value as ecotoxicological marker. Many wild-type strains of H. vulgaris have been collected worldwide and maintained effectively under laboratory conditions by asexual reproduction, while stable transgenic lines have been continuously produced since 2006. Efforts are now needed to ensure the genetic characterization of all these strains, which despite similar morphologies, show significant variability in their response to gene expression silencing procedures, pharmacological treatments or environmental conditions. Here, we established a rapid and reliable procedure at the single polyp level to produce via PCR amplification of three distinct microsatellite sequences molecular signatures that distinguish between Hydra strains and species. The TG-rich region of an uncharacterized gene (ms-c25145) helps to distinguish between Eurasian H. vulgaris-Pallas strains (Hm-105, Basel1, Basel2 and reg-16), between Eurasian and North American H. vulgaris strains (H. carnea, AEP), and between the H. vulgaris and H. oligactis species. The AT-rich microsatellite sequences located in the AIP gene (Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Interaction Protein, ms-AIP) also differ between Eurasian and North American H. vulgaris strains. Finally, the AT-rich microsatellite located in the Myb-Like cyclin D-binding transcription factor1 gene (ms-DMTF1) gene helps to distinguish certain transgenic AEP lines. This study shows that the analysis of microsatellite sequences, which is capable of tracing genomic variations between closely related lineages of Hydra, provides a sensitive and robust tool for characterizing the Hydra strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Hydra / genetics*
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics*
  • Models, Animal
  • Molecular Typing / methods*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Reproducibility of Results

Grants and funding

SNF grants to Brigitte Galliot 31003A_169930; 310030_189122 Swiss National Fonds (SNF) The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.