University of California, Davis
Title: Mechanisms of Development and Regeneration in Hydra
Abstract: The adult Hydra continually renews all of its cells using lineage-restricted stem cells and can regenerate its entire body from a small piece of tissue. This combination of properties allows us to dissect both homeostatic and regenerative development in parallel and make direct comparisons and connections between the two. Our research goals are to: 1) elucidate the signaling pathways and gene regulatory networks that drive homeostatic development and 2) determine how injury signals trigger these developmental programs during regeneration. To gain a comprehensive view of the gene expression changes that occur during homeostatic development, we used single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) to capture the spectrum of cell states that occur as cells differentiate. We used this information to build developmental trajectories for each lineage and identify transcription factors expressed at key developmental decision points. This has given us a starting point to build gene regulatory networks to describe Hydra homeostatic development. To understand how these developmental pathways are activated during regeneration we have surveyed the transcriptomic and chromatin changes that occur over the first 12 hours of head and foot regeneration. These data allowed us to identify putative regulatory connections between the conserved response to injury and the activation of Wnt signaling, which is necessary and sufficient for head development. In summary, we aim to take advantage of the relative simplicity of Hydra to uncover fundamental principles of the regulatory logic controlling development and regeneration.
Hosts: Oliver Hobert, Rafael Yuste
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