A small molecule screen identifies a novel compound that induces a homeotic transformation in Hydra

Kristine M. Glauber, Catherine E. Dana, Steve S. Park, David A. Colby, Yukihiko Noro, Toshitaka Fujisawa, A. Richard Chamberlin, Robert E. Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developmental processes such as morphogenesis, patterning and differentiation are continuously active in the adult Hydra polyp. We carried out a small molecule screen to identify compounds that affect patterning in Hydra. We identified a novel molecule, DAC-2-25, that causes a homeotic transformation of body column into tentacle zone. This transformation occurs in a progressive and polar fashion, beginning at the oral end of the animal. We have identified several strains that respond to DAC-2-25 and one that does not, and we used chimeras from these strains to identify the ectoderm as the target tissue for DAC-2-25. Using transgenic Hydra that express green fluorescent protein under the control of relevant promoters, we examined how DAC-2-25 affects tentacle patterning. Genes whose expression is associated with the tentacle zone are ectopically expressed upon exposure to DAC-2-25, whereas those associated with body column tissue are turned off as the tentacle zone expands. The expression patterns of the organizer-associated gene HyWnt3 and the hypostome-specific gene HyBra2 are unchanged. Structureactivity relationship studies have identified features of DAC-2-25 that are required for activity and potency. This study shows that small molecule screens in Hydra can be used to dissect patterning processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4788-4796
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cnidaria
  • Hydra
  • Pattern formation
  • Pyridone
  • Regeneration
  • Small molecule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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