The prospective ventral uterus of the hermaphrodite gonad primordium consists of two pairs of sister cells, with each pair consisting of a proximal "α" cell and a distal "β" cell. All four cells initially are competent to become the anchor cell (AC), a unique cell type that acts as the organizer of subsequent uterine and vulval development. However, the β cells soon lose this competence and always become ventral uterine precursor cells (VUs), whereas the α cells maintain their AC competence longer, until lin-12/Notch-mediated interactions between them specify one as the AC and the other as a VU. Here, we investigate this asymmetry in developmental potential and VU fate specification between the α and β sister cells. We find evidence that lin-12 activity contributes to the robustness of βVU fate at elevated temperature, that the Caenorhabditis elegans Notch paralog glp-1 is not functionally redundant with lin-12 in specifying βVU fate, and that the activity of POP-1, the sole C. elegans TCF ortholog, influences βVU fate. We propose a model for how Wnt and LIN-12/Notch signaling together lead to robust specification of the βVU fate.
Keywords: C. elegans; Notch; POP-1; gonadogenesis; lin-12.
Copyright © 2015 Sallee et al.