The C. elegans gene lin-44, which controls the polarity of certain asymmetric cell divisions, encodes a Wnt protein and acts cell nonautonomously

Cell. 1995 Oct 6;83(1):101-10. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(95)90238-4.


Mutations in the C. elegans gene lin-44 lead to reversals in the polarity of certain asymmetric cell divisions. We have discovered that lin-44 is a member of the Wnt family of genes, which encode secretory glycoproteins implicated in intercellular signaling. Both in situ hybridization experiments using lin-44 transcripts and experiments using reporter constructs designed to mimic patterns of lin-44 expression indicate that lin-44 is expressed in hypodermal cells at the tip of the tail and posterior to the cells with polarities affected by lin-44 mutations. Our mosaic analysis indicates that lin-44 acts cell nonautonomously. We propose that LIN-44 protein is secreted by tail hypodermal cells and affects the polarity of asymmetric cell divisions that occur more anteriorly in the tail.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Polarity / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Artificial, Yeast
  • Consensus Sequence
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Disorders of Sex Development
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry
  • Glycoproteins / classification
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / physiology*
  • Helminth Proteins / physiology*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mosaicism
  • Multigene Family
  • Phenotype
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / chemistry
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Tail
  • Wnt1 Protein


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Helminth Proteins
  • LIN-44 protein, C elegans
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • wg protein, Drosophila