A combined binary interaction and phenotypic map of C. elegans cell polarity proteins

Nat Cell Biol. 2016 Mar;18(3):337-46. doi: 10.1038/ncb3300. Epub 2016 Jan 18.


The establishment of cell polarity is an essential process for the development of multicellular organisms and the functioning of cells and tissues. Here, we combine large-scale protein interaction mapping with systematic phenotypic profiling to study the network of physical interactions that underlies polarity establishment and maintenance in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Using a fragment-based yeast two-hybrid strategy, we identified 439 interactions between 296 proteins, as well as the protein regions that mediate these interactions. Phenotypic profiling of the network resulted in the identification of 100 physically interacting protein pairs for which RNAi-mediated depletion caused a defect in the same polarity-related process. We demonstrate the predictive capabilities of the network by showing that the physical interaction between the RhoGAP PAC-1 and PAR-6 is required for radial polarization of the C. elegans embryo. Our network represents a valuable resource of candidate interactions that can be used to further our insight into cell polarization.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism*
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / genetics
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • RNA Interference / physiology


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • rho GTPase-activating protein