Theses Doctoral

Calcium imaging of the entire muscle system of Hydra reveals extensive cellular multifunctionality

Szymanski, John Robert

Hydra vulgaris is a Cnidarian species with a life cycle containing only a polyp stage, and with a simple body plan in which ectodermal and endodermal epitheliomuscular cells play many roles. These two epithelia generate motion of the polyp by exerting contractile force on myonemes. The function of this musculature was studied on a system scale using whole-animal calcium imaging to measure functional activity in all epitheliomuscular cells simultaneously. This approach maps the diversity of functional activation patterns underlying the behavior of Hydra, and reveals that individual epitheliomuscular cells participate in multiple patterns using at least two different types of calcium signaling that propagate by different mechanisms and at vastly different rates. These studies establish the functional basis for the epithelial muscle systems of Cnidaria, revealing new operational principles and deep evolutionary ties to mechanisms of contractile activity that exist elsewhere in Metazoa.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Studies
Thesis Advisors
Yuste, Rafael
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 9, 2018