The Ephrin VAB-2/EFN-1 Functions in Neuronal Signaling to Regulate Epidermal Morphogenesis in C. Elegans

Cell. 1999 Dec 23;99(7):781-90. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81675-x.


The Eph receptor VAB-1 is required in neurons for epidermal morphogenesis during C. elegans embryogenesis. Two models were proposed for the non-autonomous role of VAB-1: neuronal VAB-1 might signal directly to epidermis, or VAB-1 signaling between neurons might be required for epidermal development. We show that the ephrin VAB-2 (also known as EFN-1) is a ligand for VAB-1 and can function in neurons to regulate epidermal morphogenesis. In the absence of VAB-1 signaling, ephrin-expressing neurons are disorganized. vab-2/efn-1 mutations synergize with vab-1 kinase alleles, suggesting that VAB-2/EFN-1 may partly function in a kinase-independent VAB-1 pathway. Our data indicate that ephrin signaling between neurons is required nonautonomously for epidermal morphogenesis in C. elegans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Ephrins*
  • Epidermis / embryology*
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics
  • Helminth Proteins / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Larva
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Morphogenesis
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Ephrins
  • Helminth Proteins
  • vab-2 protein, C elegans
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • vab-1 protein, C elegans

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF201079