Dissociation-reaggregation experiments in cnidarians as a model system for study of regulative capacity of metazoan development

Volume 77, N 6. 2016 pp. 442–455

A. O. Kirillova1, Yu. A. Kraus1, A. V. Markov1,2,3 1M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University
Biological Faculty, Department of Biological Evolution
119234 Moscow, Leninskie Gory, 1/12
e-mail: yulia_kraus@mail.ru
2A.A. Borissiak Paleontological Institute, RAS
117997 Moscow, Profsoyuznaya, 123
3Institute of Psychology, RAS 129366 Moscow, Yaroslavskaya, 13/1

Developmental processes of cnidarians, the basal metazoan representatives, possess extremely high regulative ability. It is known that any isolated fragment of the freshwater polyp hydra's body can regenerate an intact animal. Moreover, in many cnidarian species, suspension of single dissociated cells can form aggregates, which regenerate normal body plan of polyp or medusa. This process can be considered as an extreme case of regeneration. The development of cell reaggregates of Hydra is a conventional experimental system to study the physical basis of morphogenesis. Investigations of the cnidarians' reaggregate development help to clarify basic rules and mechanisms of the metazoan body plan formation and the role of self-organization in the metazoan early development. In this review, we summarize the data revealed by dissociation - reaggregation experiments performed on the representatives of different cnidarian taxa. We also analyze the data on the morphogenetic and molecular basis of the reaggregate development from randomly organized group of cells to cnidarian-specific body plan.

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