Traffic Light Hydra Allows For Simultaneous in vivo Imaging Of All Three Cell Lineages

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Developmental Biology


We present a new transgenic Hydra vulgaris line expressing a distinct fluorescent protein in each of the three cell lineages of the adult polyp. Plasmid microinjection was used to generate a novel transgenic Hydra line expressing the yellow fluorescent protein YPet in the ectodermal epithelial cell lineage. Tissue grafting was then used to combine a YPet animal with a line that expresses DsRed2 in the endodermal epithelial lineage and eGFP in the interstitial cell (i-cell) lineage. The resulting triple-labeled (“tricolored”) transgenic line provides, for the first time, a Hydra in which all three cell lineages can be imaged simultaneously in vivo. We show example confocal images of whole animals and individual cells to illustrate the imaging capabilities that this new line makes possible. We also used this line to carry out new studies of cell fate in the tentacles. Specifically, we evaluated the well-accepted notion that all tentacle cells are terminally differentiated and are displaced or migrate exclusively towards the distal end of the tentacle. We found that ectodermal and endodermal epithelial cells are displaced distally, as expected. In contrast, members of the i-cell lineage, which resembled neuronal precursors, could migrate out of a tentacle into the body column. This example illustrates how this tricolored transgenic line enables new in vivo studies of cell behaviors in Hydra.


Hydra, Fluorescent protein, Transgenic, YPet, Differentiation, Grafting

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