Scientific article
Open access

The transcription factor Zic4 promotes tentacle formation and prevents epithelial transdifferentiation in Hydra

Published inScience Advances, vol. 8, no. 51, eabo0694
Publication date2022-12-23
First online date2022-12-23

The molecular mechanisms that maintain cellular identities and prevent dedifferentiation or transdifferentiation remain mysterious. However, both processes are transiently used during animal regeneration. Therefore, organisms that regenerate their organs, appendages, or even their whole body offer a fruitful paradigm to investigate the regulation of cell fate stability. Here, we used Hydra as a model system and show that Zic4, whose expression is controlled by Wnt3/β-catenin signaling and the Sp5 transcription factor, plays a key role in tentacle formation and tentacle maintenance. Reducing Zic4 expression suffices to induce transdifferentiation of tentacle epithelial cells into foot epithelial cells. This switch requires the reentry of tentacle battery cells into the cell cycle without cell division and is accompanied by degeneration of nematocytes embedded in these cells. These results indicate that maintenance of cell fate by a Wnt-controlled mechanism is a key process both during homeostasis and during regeneration.

NoteIllustration: Picture of a Hydra polyp few days after the Zic4 and Sp5 genes are down-regulated. The head region (apical) is on the right and the foot one (basal) on the left. In the head region, the asterisk indicates the mouth opening and the red arrowheads point to tentacles transformed into feet, characterised by peroxidase activity. Note also the presence of ectopic feet along the body column.
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
VOGG, Matthias Christian et al. The transcription factor Zic4 promotes tentacle formation and prevents epithelial transdifferentiation in Hydra. In: Science Advances, 2022, vol. 8, n° 51, p. eabo0694. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abo0694
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2375-2548

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