Cell interactions coordinate the development of the C. elegans egg-laying system

Cell. 1990 Sep 21;62(6):1041-52. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(90)90382-o.


Egg laying by the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans requires the functioning of the vulva, the gonad, the egg-laying muscles, and the two HSN neurons, which innervate these muscles. By analyzing a newly isolated mutant (dig-1) that displaces the gonad, we discovered that cell interactions coordinate the spatial relationships among the different components of the egg-laying system. First, the gonad induces the formation of the vulva, and vulval induction by dorsal gonads strongly suggests that the inductive signal can act at a distance. Second, the gonad acts at a distance to regulate the migrations of the sex myoblasts that generate the egg-laying musculature. Third, the positions of the axonal branch and synapses of each HSN neuron are displaced correspondingly with the rest of the egg-laying system in dig-1 animals, which suggests that cell interactions also control aspects of HSN development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis / physiology*
  • Cell Movement
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Female
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Oviposition*
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Vulva / cytology
  • Vulva / physiology