Multiple Wnts and frizzled receptors regulate anteriorly directed cell and growth cone migrations in Caenorhabditis elegans

Dev Cell. 2006 Mar;10(3):367-77. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2006.02.010.


A set of conserved molecules guides axons along the metazoan dorsal-ventral axis. Recently, Wnt glycoproteins have been shown to guide axons along the anterior-posterior (A/P) axis of the mammalian spinal cord. Here, we show that, in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, multiple Wnts and Frizzled receptors regulate the anterior migrations of neurons and growth cones. Three Wnts are expressed in the tail, and at least one of these, EGL-20, functions as a repellent. We show that the MIG-1 Frizzled receptor acts in the neurons and growth cones to promote their migrations and provide genetic evidence that the Frizzleds MIG-1 and MOM-5 mediate the repulsive effects of EGL-20. While these receptors mediate the effects of EGL-20, we find that the Frizzled receptor LIN-17 can antagonize MIG-1 signaling. Our results indicate that Wnts play a key role in A/P guidance in C. elegans and employ distinct mechanisms to regulate different migrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans* / anatomy & histology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans* / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans* / growth & development
  • Caenorhabditis elegans* / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Frizzled Receptors / genetics
  • Frizzled Receptors / metabolism*
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Growth Cones / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Wnt Proteins / genetics
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Egl-20 protein, C elegans
  • Frizzled Receptors
  • Glycoproteins
  • Mig-1 protein, C elegans
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Wnt Proteins