Extending and connecting signaling pathways in C. elegans

Dev Biol. 1994 Dec;166(2):443-59. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1994.1328.


The development of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is known to depend extensively on reproducible cell-cell interactions. The analysis of many of these signaling events has revealed that, in most cases, the mechanisms that mediate them have been conserved throughout metazoan evolution. Thus, the analysis of signaling pathways in C. elegans can aid in the understanding of signal transduction mechanisms in general. In this review we focus on signaling events that occur during the development of the hermaphrodite egg-laying system. Many of these signaling events occur at approximately the same time and in very close proximity to one another. Following a brief review of the individual signaling systems employed, we analyze the data that have started to address how the specificity among these pathways is maintained and how multiple pathways that affect individual developmental decisions are integrated. These issues are common to all signaling systems and should be instructive in presenting the complexities that are involved in obtaining a global understanding of development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Cell Movement
  • Embryonic Induction
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genes, Helminth*
  • Morphogenesis
  • Oogenesis
  • Ovulation
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Signal Transduction


  • RNA, Messenger