An organizing region in metamorphosing hydrozoan planula larvae - Stimulation of axis formation in both larval and in adult tissue

Melanie Stumpf, Britta Will, Karola Wittig, Jennifer Kasper, Benjamin Fischer, Jürgen Schmich, Stefanie Seipp, Thomas Leitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


A novel wingless gene was isolated from the marine colonial hydroid Hydractinia echinata. Alignments and Bayesian inference analysis clearly assign the gene to the Wnt5A group. In line with data found for the brachyury ortholog of Hydractinia, He-wnt5A is expressed during metamorphosis in the posterior tip of the spindle-shaped planula larva, suggesting that the tip functions as a putative organizer during metamorphosis. Additionally, the outermost cells of the posterior tip are omitted from apoptosis during metamorphosis. In order to investigate this putative organizer function, we transplanted the posterior tip of metamorphosing animals into non-induced larvae and into primary polyps 24 h and 48 h of age. In larvae, the tip induced formation of a secondary axis. In polyps the building of ectopic head structures was induced. Based on our data on axis formation, on gene expression similar to the organizers of other species, and the absence of regular apoptosis, we conclude that the posterior tip of the Hydractinia larva has organizing activity during metamorphosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-802
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010



  • Brachyury
  • Hydractinia echinata
  • Organizer
  • Planula larva
  • Wnt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology

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