The freshwater Hydra polyp emerged as a model system in 1741 when Abraham Trembley discovered its amazing regenerative potential. Since then, Hydra flourished as a potent and fruitful model system to help answer questions linked to cell and developmental biology. As part of the HydraGlue project, in this article we have investigated this model organism for its potent model system to inspire bioadhesion research intending to find the basis of its natural way of adherence.
In hydra, potent modified cells in the ectoderm are grouped in what is called “basal disc” on the hydra’s peduncle, forming one of the most intricate systems of cells-secreting “glue” in an organism. Using several microscopy techniques we were able to show the basic cellular components that might be involved in its bioadhesive ability underwater. After detaching, these animals leave a footprint behind (picture) which are mainly composed of proteins, and maybe, of interest for developing novel adhesives.