Differentiation of a Nerve Cell-Battery Cell Complex in Hydra
Complex cell-cell interactions appeared early in the evolution of metazoans. One of the most interesting examples of such complexity is the battery cell in tentacles of cnidarians. This cell consists of a modified ectodermal epithelial cell which has nematocytes and sensory nerve cells embedded in it. To investigate the formation of this complex, we use the simple fresh water cnidarian Hydra. In this organism, epithelial cells of the gastric region are continuously displaced into tentacles (Campbell, 1967; Dübel et al., 1987), where they interact with sensory nerve cells and nematocytes to form battery cells.
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