The MIG-15 NIK kinase acts cell-autonomously in neuroblast polarization and migration in C. elegans

Dev Biol. 2008 Dec 15;324(2):245-57. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.09.014. Epub 2008 Sep 24.


Cell migration is a fundamental process in animal development, including development of the nervous system. In C. elegans, the bilateral QR and QL neuroblasts undergo initial anterior and posterior polarizations and migrations before they divide to produce neurons. A subsequent Wnt signal from the posterior instructs QL descendants to continue their posterior migration. Nck-interacting kinases (NIK kinases) have been implicated in cell and nuclear migration as well as lamellipodia formation. Studies here show that the C. elegans MIG-15 NIK kinase controls multiple aspects of initial Q cell polarization, including the ability of the cells to polarize, to maintain polarity, and to migrate. These data suggest that MIG-15 acts independently of the Wnt signal that controls QL descendant posterior migration. Furthermore, MIG-15 affects the later migrations of neurons generated from Q cell division. Finally, a mosaic analysis indicates that MIG-15 acts cell-autonomously in Q descendant migration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / embryology
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Movement*
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Wnt Proteins / genetics
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases