Control of asymmetric cell division in early C. elegans embryogenesis: teaming-up translational repression and protein degradation

BMB Rep. 2010 Feb;43(2):69-78. doi: 10.5483/bmbrep.2010.43.2.069.


Asymmetric cell division is a fundamental mechanism for the generation of body axes and cell diversity during early embryogenesis in many organisms. During intrinsically asymmetric divisions, an axis of polarity is established within the cell and the division plane is oriented to ensure the differential segregation of developmental determinants to the daughter cells. Studies in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans have contributed greatly to our understanding of the regulatory mechanisms underlying cell polarity and asymmetric division. However, much remains to be elucidated about the molecular machinery controlling the spatiotemporal distribution of key components. In this review we discuss recent findings that reveal intricate interactions between translational control and targeted proteolysis. These two mechanisms of regulation serve to carefully modulate protein levels and reinforce asymmetries, or to eliminate proteins from certain cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Polarity
  • Protein Biosynthesis


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins