Cnidarians are emerging model organisms for cell and molecular biology research. However, successful cell culture development has been challenging due to incomplete tissue dissociation and contamination. In this report, we developed and tested several different methodologies to culture primary cells from all tissues of two species of Cnidaria: Nematostella vectensis and Pocillopora damicornis. In over 170 replicated cell cultures, we demonstrate that physical dissociation was the most successful method for viable and diverse N. vectensis cells while antibiotic-assisted dissociation was most successful for viable and diverse P. damicornis cells. We also demonstrate that a rigorous antibiotic pretreatment results in less initial contamination in cell cultures. Primary cultures of both species averaged 12–13 days of viability, showed proliferation, and maintained high cell diversity including cnidocytes, nematosomes, putative gastrodermal, and epidermal cells. Overall, this work will contribute a needed tool for furthering functional cell biology experiments in Cnidaria.
ASJC Scopus subject areas