Patterning C. elegans: homeotic cluster genes, cell fates and cell migrations

Trends Genet. 1994 May;10(5):159-64. doi: 10.1016/0168-9525(94)90092-2.


Despite its simple body form, the nematode C. elegans expresses homeotic cluster genes similar to those of insects and vertebrates in the patterning of many cell types and tissues along the anteroposterior axis. In the ventral nerve cord, these genes program spatial patterns of cell death, fusion, division and neurotransmitter production; in migrating cells they regulate the direction and extent of movement. Nematode development permits an analysis at the cellular level of how homeotic cluster genes interact to specify cell fates, and how cell behavior can be regulated to assemble an organism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development
  • Cell Movement
  • Genes, Helminth*
  • Genes, Homeobox*