Cell division and targeted cell cycle arrest opens and stabilizes basement membrane gaps

Nat Commun. 2014 Jun 13;5:4184. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5184.


Large gaps in basement membrane (BM) occur during organ remodelling and cancer cell invasion. Whether dividing cells, which temporarily reduce their attachment to BM, influence these breaches is unknown. Here we analyse uterine-vulval attachment during development across 21 species of rhabditid nematodes and find that the BM gap that forms between these organs is always bounded by a non-dividing vulval cell. Through cell cycle manipulation and live cell imaging in Caenorhabditis elegans, we show that actively dividing vulval cells facilitate enlargement of this breach by promoting BM movement. In contrast, targeted cell cycle arrest halts BM movement and limits gap opening. Further, we demonstrate that the BM component laminin accumulates at the BM gap edge and promotes increased integrin levels in non-dividing vulval cells, stabilizing gap position. Together, these studies reveal that cell division can be used as a mechanism to regulate BM breaches, thus controlling the exchange of cells between tissues.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / growth & development
  • Basement Membrane / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints*
  • Female
  • Laminin / genetics
  • Laminin / metabolism
  • Vulva / cytology
  • Vulva / growth & development
  • Vulva / metabolism


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Laminin