Control of cell polarity and asymmetric division in C. elegans

Curr Top Dev Biol. 2012;101:55-76. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394592-1.00003-X.


During development of Caenorhabditis elegans, most somatic cells divide asymmetrically to produce daughter cells with distinct fates. A Wnt signaling pathway called Wnt/β-catenin asymmetry pathway controls both polarity of mother cells and distinct fates of daughter cells. Unlike the PCP pathway that regulates cell polarity in other organisms, this Wnt pathway in C. elegans requires β-catenin. However, similar to the PCP pathway, signaling components including Dishevelled proteins are asymmetrically localized to the cell cortex. I will review current knowledge about the mechanism of this regulation and how the orientation of cell polarity is controlled by Wnt proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Division*
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Dishevelled Proteins
  • Embryonic Development
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Spindle Apparatus
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • DSH-1 protein, C elegans
  • Dishevelled Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • MOM-2 protein, C elegans
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Vang-1 protein, C elegans
  • WRM-1 protein, C elegans
  • beta Catenin