Weinziger, Ruth; Salgado, Luis M.; David, Charles N.; Bosch, Thomas C. G. (1994): Ks1, an epithelial cell-specific gene, responds to early signals of head formation in Hydra. In: Development, Vol. 120: S. 2511-2517




As a molecular marker for head specification in Hydra, we have cloned an epithelial cell-specific gene which responds to early signals of head formation. The gene, designated ks1, encodes a 217-amino acid protein lacking significant sequence similarity to any known protein. KS1 contains a N-terminal signal sequence and is rich in charged residues which are clustered in several domains. ks1 is expressed in tentacle-specific epithelial cells (battery cells) as well as in a small fraction of ectodermal epithelial cells in the gastric region subjacent to the tentacles. Treatment with the protein kinase C activator 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13- acetate (TPA) causes a rapid increase in the level of ks1 mRNA in head-specific epithelial cells and also induces ectopic ks1 expression in cells of the gastric region. Sequence elements in the 5 ¢-flanking region of ks1 that are related to TPA-responsive elements may mediate the TPA inducibility of ks1 expression. The pattern of expression of ks1 suggests that a ligand-activated diacylglycerol second messenger system is involved in head-specific differentiation.