Mutations in tcl-2 cause defects in the specification of the fates of the descendants of the TL and TR blast cells, whose polarity is regulated by lin-44/Wnt and lin-17/frizzled, during Caenorhabditis elegans development. In wild-type animals, POP-1/TCF/LEF, is asymmetrically distributed to the T cell daughters, resulting in a higher level of POP-1 in the nucleus of the anterior daughter. The POP-1 asymmetric distribution is controlled by lin-44 and lin-17. However, in tcl-2 mutants, POP-1 is equally distributed to T cell daughters as is observed in lin-17 mutants, indicating that, like lin-17, tcl-2 functions upstream of pop-1. In addition, tcl-2 mutations cause defects in the development of the gonad and the specification of fate of the posterior daughter of the P12 cell, both of which are controlled by the Wnt pathway. Double mutant analyses indicate that tcl-2 can act synergistically with the Wnt pathway to control gonad development as well as P12 descendant cell fate specification. tcl-2 encodes a novel protein. A functional tcl-2::gfp construct was weakly expressed in the nuclei of the T cell and its descendants. Our results suggest that tcl-2 functions with Wnt pathways to control T cell fate specification, gonad development, and P12 cell fate specification.
Copyright 2003 Elsevier Science (USA)