Coordination of cell division timing is crucial for proper cell fate specification and tissue growth. However, the differential regulation of cell division timing across or within cell types during metazoan development remains poorly understood. To elucidate the systems-level genetic architecture coordinating division timing, we performed a high-content screening for genes whose depletion produced a significant reduction in the asynchrony of division between sister cells (ADS) compared to that of wild-type during Caenorhabditis elegans embryogenesis. We quantified division timing using 3D time-lapse imaging followed by computer-aided lineage analysis. A total of 822 genes were selected for perturbation based on their conservation and known roles in development. Surprisingly, we find that cell fate determinants are not only essential for establishing fate asymmetry, but also are imperative for setting the ADS regardless of cellular context, indicating a common genetic architecture used by both cellular processes. The fate determinants demonstrate either coupled or separate regulation between the two processes. The temporal coordination appears to facilitate cell migration during fate specification or tissue growth. Our quantitative dataset with cellular resolution provides a resource for future analyses of the genetic control of spatial and temporal coordination during metazoan development.
Keywords: C. elegans; asynchrony of cell division; automated lineaging; cell cycle length; cell division timing.
© 2015 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.