Little is known about how the size of an adult animal is determined and regulated. To investigate this issue in hydra, we altered the body size by surgically removing a part of the body column and/or by axial grafting, and examined changes of column length with time. When the body column was shortened it elongated and resumed the original length within 24-48. h. This increase in the body column length was not accompanied by an increase in the number of epithelial cells in the body column. Instead, each of the epithelial cells elongated longitudinally, leading to elongation of the body column. When the body column surpassed the original length, the column shortened over time. This was not accompanied by a decrease in cell number but by the shortening and thickening of the epithelial cells. TEM analysis showed that formation of microtubule arrays takes place longitudinally along the body axis in elongated cells and perpendicular to the axis in shortened cells. Treatment with a drug that degrades microtubules completely blocked changes in body length. These observations suggest that microtubules are involved in regulating the length of the hydra body column by altering the shape of the epithelial cells. We propose from these observations that hydra has a mechanism for detecting the metrical distance between the two ends of the body column. © 2010.
Takaku, Y., Shimizu, H., & Fujisawa, T. (2011). Microtubules are involved in regulating body length in hydra. Developmental Biology, 350(1), 228–237. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.10.035