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Fujisawa, Toshitaka and David, Charles N. (1981): COMMITMENT DURING NEMATOCYTE DIFFERENTIATION IN HYDRA. In: Journal of Cell Science, Vol. 48: pp. 207-222 [PDF, 901kB]


Nematocytes in Hydra differentiate from interstitial stem cells. Desmonemes differentiate mainly in the distal half of the body column while stenoteles differentiate predominantly in the proximal half. This difference was used to determine the timing of nematocyte-type commitment in the differentiation pathway. Cells were transferred from distal or proximal regions to all positions in the body column to test when the proportion of stenotele and desmoneme differentiation changed to reflect the new environment. In the first experiment, the distal region of the body column was isolated and permitted to regenerate a whole Hydra. In the second experiment, dissociated cells from distal or proximal regions were transplanted into regenerating aggregates of Hydra tissue. Both experiments effectively transferred cells from distal or proximal positions to positions throughout the body column. By comparing the kinetics of stenotele and differentiation with the time required for distal or proximal cells to differentiate stenoteles and desmonemes in accord with their new environment, it was possible to conclude that stenotele and desmoneme commitment occurs during the terminal cell cycle prior to nematocyte differentiation and not at the stem cell. Additional experiments indicated that the number of rounds of cell division preceding differentiation is fixed at the time stem cells enter the nematocyte pathway.

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