Cortical beta-catenin and APC regulate asymmetric nuclear beta-catenin localization during asymmetric cell division in C. elegans

Dev Cell. 2007 Feb;12(2):287-99. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2007.01.004.


In C. elegans, Wnt signaling regulates a number of asymmetric cell divisions. During telophase, WRM-1/beta-catenin localizes asymmetrically to the anterior cortex and the posterior daughter's nucleus. However, cortical WRM-1's functions are not known. Here, we use a membrane-targeted form of WRM-1 to show that cortical WRM-1 inhibits Wnt signaling and the nuclear localization of WRM-1. These functions are mediated by APR-1/APC, which regulates WRM-1 nuclear export. We also show that APR-1 as well as PRY-1/Axin and Dishevelled homologs localize asymmetrically to the cortex. Our results suggest a model in which cortical WRM-1 recruits APR-1 to the anterior cortex before and during division, and the cortical APR-1 stimulates WRM-1 export from the anterior nucleus at telophase. Because beta-catenin and APC are localized to the cortex in many cell types in different species, our results suggest that these cortical proteins may regulate asymmetric divisions or Wnt signaling in other organisms as well.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus*
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / enzymology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Division*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Wnt Proteins / genetics
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases