Cell polarity and gastrulation in C. elegans

Development. 2002 Jan;129(2):387-97.


Gastrulation in C. elegans embryos involves formation of a blastocoel and the ingression of surface cells into the blastocoel. Mutations in the par-3 gene cause abnormal separations between embryonic cells, suggesting that the PAR-3 protein has a role in blastocoel formation. In normal development, PAR proteins localize to either the apical or basal surfaces of cells prior to blastocoel formation; we demonstrate that this localization is determined by cell contacts. Cells that ingress into the blastocoel undergo an apical flattening associated with an apical concentration of non-muscle myosin. We provide evidence that ingression times are determined by genes that control cell fate, though interactions with neighboring cells can prevent ingression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / ultrastructure
  • Gastrula / physiology*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics
  • Helminth Proteins / metabolism*
  • Morphogenesis
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • PAR-3 protein, C elegans
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases