The tiny hydra, a freshwater invertebrate related to jellyfish and corals, has an amazing ability to renew its cells and regenerate damaged tissue. Cut a hydra in half, and it will regenerate its body and nervous system in a couple of days.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have now traced the fate of the hydra’s cells, revealing how three lines of stem cells become nerves, muscles or other tissues.
Celina Juliano, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, project scientist Stefan Siebert and colleagues including Jeff Farrell, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University, sequenced the RNA transcripts of 25,000 single hydra cells to follow the genetic trajectory of nearly all differentiated cell types.
“The beauty of single-cell sequencing and why this is such a big deal for developmental biologists is that we can actually capture the genes that are expressed as cells differentiate from stem cells into their different cell types,” Juliano said.
The study gives developmental biologists a high-resolution map of the three stem cell developmental lineages in the hydra. The dataset will help researchers understand regulatory gene networks in place early in evolution that are shared among many animals, including humans, Siebert said. Understanding how the hydra regenerates its entire nervous system, for example, could help us better understand neurodegenerative diseases in humans.
Regenerates from three lines of stem cells
Hydras continuously renew their cells from three different stem cell populations. The researchers analyzed sets of messenger RNA molecules, called transcriptomes, from individual hydra cells and grouped the cells based on their expressed genes. They could then build a decision tree showing how each lineage of stem cells gives rise to different cell types and tissues. For example, the interstitial stem cell lineage produces nerve cells, gland cells and the stinging cells in the animal’s tentacles.
“By building a decision tree for the interstitial lineage, we unexpectedly found evidence that the neuron and gland cell differentiation pathway share a common cell state,” said Juliano. “Thus, interstitial stem cells appear to pass through a cell state that has both gland and neuron potential before making a final decision.”
The single-cell molecular map also allowed Juliano and colleagues to identify genes that may control these decision-making processes, which will be the focus of future studies.
Researchers are especially interested in the hydra’s ability to regenerate its nervous system, which could give insights into treating trauma or degenerative disease in humans.
“All organisms share the same injury response pathway but in some organisms like hydra, it leads to regeneration,” said co-author and graduate student Abby Primack. “In other organisms, like humans, once our brain is injured, we have difficulty recovering because the brain lacks the kind of regenerative abilities we see in hydra.”
Additional co-authors include Jack Cazet and Yashodara Abeykoon at UC Davis and Christine Schnitzler, University of Florida. The work was partly supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and DARPA.
Learn more: Mapping Cells in the Immortal Regenerating Hydra
The Latest on: Immortality
via Google News
The Latest on: Immortality
- Incomparable Attractions of Immortality in World Politics: Jihadist Terror and Countervailing Policies of "Mind"on September 22, 2019 at 11:04 am
Though generally unseen, the most compelling form of power on earth is power over death. Always. Today, after an American president declared "victory" over one especially notorious organization with ...
- Five myths about agingon September 20, 2019 at 11:27 am
Across the globe, more of us than ever are reaching old age, thanks to advances in public health. But this success comes at a cost: The surge in age-related chronic disease is burdening health-care ...
- Area 51 Raid: Everything That’s Happening in the Desert Todayon September 20, 2019 at 10:05 am
Today’s the day that has long been promised, when a bunch of people are heading to the Nevada desert to see them aliens and possibly get arrested in pursuit of meme immortality. It’s Area 51 Day, baby ...
- How extreme weather led to one of the 20th century's most iconic photoson September 20, 2019 at 7:11 am
The women didn't know each other's names, but they would go on to share immortality. One, Florence Owens Thompson, was a migrant worker awaiting a fix for her family's car before they could move on to ...
- SPAM Pumpkin Spice means this trend really will last forever. On your shelf.on September 20, 2019 at 3:26 am
SPAM, notably shelf-stable, now gives it something that flirts with immortality. [Popular on OrlandoSentinel.com] Motorworks Brewing replaces Orange County Brewers in downtown Orlando » SPAM, I have ...
- The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance Season 1 Episode 6 Recapon September 19, 2019 at 1:43 pm
Sisters can be the worst sometimes. Especially when they sell you and the collected heroes of Thra out to a demented flock of immortality-obsessed vultures. Luckily, Brea’s guardian angel made sure ...
- Hailee Steinfeld Ponders Immortality On Moody Track For New Apple+ Series: Listenon September 19, 2019 at 8:23 am
Hailee Steinfeld unveiled her new single “Afterlife” on Thursday (Sept. 19). The sparkling new track finds the Academy Award nominee pondering whether a love will live on after death -- a sentiment ...
- Rugby World Cup 2019: Glory in Japan can offer immortality for Joe Schmidt and Warren Gatlandon September 18, 2019 at 11:28 pm
Standing at opposite ends of a Celtic rivalry that stretches back more than 130 years, Warren Gatland and Joe Schmidt have walked curiously similar paths during their time on British shores.
- Dermot Crowe: 'Dublin emerge from a fierce rivalry to claim immortality'on September 14, 2019 at 11:30 pm
Before the drawn game, public opinion had settled on one outcome and, it seemed, one outcome only. Dublin. Had to be. Kerry would eventually have their day. But those who swear allegiance to green and ...
- Ashes, 5th Test: Steve Smith On The Verge Of Immortality, Eyes Don Bradman's Unreal 89-Year-Old Recordon September 12, 2019 at 12:44 am
Steve Smith is the man of the hour. Having already scored a double hundred, two centuries and two fifties in four matches of the ongoing Ashes series against England, the former Australia captain can ...
via Bing News