Document Type



Studies of mitochondrial redox signaling predict that the colonial hydroids Eirene viridula and Podocoryna carnea should respond to manipulations of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Both species encrust surfaces with feeding polyps connected by networks of stolons; P. carnea is more ‘sheet-like’ with closely spaced polyps and short stolons, while E. viridula is more ‘runner-like’ with widely spaced polyps and long stolons. Treatment with the chemical antioxidant vitamin C diminishes ROS in mitochondrion-rich epitheliomuscular cells (EMCs) and produces phenotypic effects (sheet-like growth) similar to uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation. In peripheral stolon tips, treatment with vitamin C triggers a dramatic increase of ROS that is followed by tissue death and stolon regression. The enzymatic anti-oxidant catalase is probably not taken up by the colony but, rather, converts hydrogen peroxide in the medium to water and oxygen. Exogenous catalase does not affect ROS in mitochondrion-rich EMCs, but does increase the amounts of ROS emitted from peripheral stolons, resulting in rapid, runner-like growth. Treatment with exogenous hydrogen peroxide increases ROS levels in stolon tips and results in somewhat faster colony growth. Finally, untreated colonies of E. viridula exhibit higher levels of ROS in stolon tips than untreated colonies of P. carnea. ROS may participate in a number of putative signaling pathways: (1) high levels of ROS may trigger cell and tissue death in peripheral stolon tips; (2) more moderate levels of ROS in stolon tips may trigger outward growth, inhibit branching and, possibly, mediate the redox signaling of mitochondrion-rich EMCs; and (3) ROS may have an extra-colony function, perhaps in suppressing the growth of bacteria.



Publication Date


Original Citation

Blackstone NW, Bivins MJ, Cherry KS, Fletcher RE, Geddes GC. 2005. Redox signaling in colonial hydroids: many pathways for peroxide. J Exp Biol 208:383-390.


Department of Biological Sciences

Legacy Department

Department of Biological Sciences






The Company of Biologists



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.