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Sex determination in hydra: control by a subpopulation of interstitial cells in Hydra oligactis males

Sex determination in hydra: control by a subpopulation of interstitial cells in Hydra oligactis males

Developmental Biology 117(2): 428-434

The stability of sexual phenotype was examined in a single clone of Hydra oligactis males maintained at two culture temperatures, 18 and 22 degrees C. At these temperatures animals of this species do not reproduce sexually, but reproduce asexually by budding, and males and females are morphologically indistinguishable. When the temperature is lowered to 10 degrees C gametogenesis is induced and sexual phenotype can be assayed. Males cultured for several years at 18 degrees C expressed a stable sexual phenotype when induced to undergo gametogenesis; males remained male. Those cultured at 22 degrees C for 1 year, however, expressed a low frequency of sex reversal from male to female; males ceased sperm differentiation and began producing eggs. Male sex reversal in cultures maintained at the higher temperature was correlated with the loss of a specific subpopulation of interstitial cells, those that bind the monoclonal antibody, AC2, which labels cells specific to the spermatogenic pathway in H. oligactis males. When interstitial cells restricted to this pathway were reintroduced into sex-reversed males (phenotypic females), the male phenotype was reestablished and animals reverted to sperm production. To further investigate the role of AC2+ cells in the masculinization of females, normal males (containing AC2+ cells) and sex-reversed males (lacking AC2+ cells) were grafted to females. In grafts between normal males and females, egg production ceased and sperm differentiation ensued, whereas those between sex-reversed males and females continued to produce eggs. Thus, the presence of AC2+ interstitial cells is strictly correlated with male sexual phenotypes and it is only in their absence that the female phenotype is expressed.

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Accession: 041351385

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PMID: 3758480

DOI: 10.1016/0012-1606(86)90311-8

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