Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2019

Academic Department


Faculty Advisor(s)

Diana Bridge


The invertebrates Hydra oligactis and Hydra vulgaris are valuable models for research on aging. H. oligactis show senescence after sexual reproduction is induced, reducing their lifespan to about 90 days, while H. vulgaris remain alive indefinitely. One possible explanation for the difference in lifespan is that H. oligactis have a less robust heat shock response than H. vulgaris. Among the proteins rapidly produced during the heat shock response are small heat shock proteins (sHSPs). Past research in our lab characterized expression of sHSP genes in H. vulgaris in the absence of heat shock. All five of the H. vulgaris sHSP genes examined were expressed in stem cells in adult H. vulgaris, suggesting a role in maintaining protein quality control in stem cells. The current project sought to determine whether sHSPs are also expressed in H. oligactis stem cells and if so, whether expression is maintained once sexual reproduction and aging are induced. Expression of a H. oligactis sHSP gene corresponding to one studied in H. vulgaris, sHSP2, was characterized using RNA in situ hybridization. Expression was examined in H. oligactis before and both 27 and 42 days after the induction of aging. We found that even after induction, H. oligactis show expression of sHSP2 in epithelial stem cells. This preliminary data provides evidence that sHSP2 is not critical for aging in H. oligactis.


Senior thesis.

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