Cytoplasmic flow and the establishment of polarity in C. elegans 1-cell embryos

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2000 Aug;10(4):414-20. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(00)00106-4.


Early Caenorhabditis elegans embryos provide an excellent model for the study of developmental processes. Development can be studied by direct observation under the light microscope and can be perturbed using laser manipulations, drug inhibitor treatments, and genetic mutants. The first division of the C. elegans embryo is asymmetric, generating two daughter cells unequal in size and developmental fate. These distinct fates are generated by the partitioning of cytoplasmic determinants during the first mitotic cell cycle. Partitioning of these determinants is thought to be driven by cytoplasmic flow. Recent studies in C. elegans in the past year have identified a number of components necessary for this flow, giving us a clearer picture of the molecular mechanisms underlying developmental asymmetry.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Cytoplasm / physiology
  • Male
  • Spermatozoa / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors