PAR proteins distribute asymmetrically across the anterior-posterior axis of the 1-cell-stage C. elegans embryo, and function to establish subsequent anterior-posterior asymmetries. By the end of the 4-cell stage, anteriorly localized PAR proteins, such as PAR-3 and PAR-6, redistribute to the outer, apical surfaces of cells, whereas posteriorly localized PAR proteins, such as PAR-1 and PAR-2, redistribute to the inner, basolateral surfaces. Because PAR proteins are provided maternally, distinguishing apicobasal from earlier anterior-posterior functions requires a method that selectively prevents PAR activity after the 1-cell stage. In the present study we generated hybrid PAR proteins that are targeted for degradation after the 1-cell stage. Embryos containing the hybrid PAR proteins had normal anterior-posterior polarity, but showed defects in apicobasal asymmetries associated with gastrulation. Ectopic separations appeared between lateral surfaces of cells that are normally tightly adherent, cells that ingress during gastrulation failed to accumulate nonmuscle myosin at their apical surfaces and ingression was slowed. Thus, PAR proteins function in both apicobasal and anterior-posterior asymmetry during the first few cell cycles of embryogenesis.