mex-1 and the general partitioning of cell fate in the early C. elegans embryo

Mech Dev. 1996 Feb;54(2):133-47. doi: 10.1016/0925-4773(95)00466-1.


It is thought that at least some of the initial specification of the five somatic founder cells of the C. elegans embryo occurs cell-autonomously through the segregation of factors during cell divisions. It has been suggested that in embryos from mothers homozygous for mutations in the maternal-effect gene mex-1, four blastomeres of the 8-cell embryo adopt the fate of the MS blastomere. It was proposed that mex-1 functions to localise or regulate factors that determine the fate of this blastomere. Here, a detailed cell lineage analysis of 9 mex-1 mutants reveals that the fates of all somatic founder cells are affected by mutations in this gene. We propose that mex-1, like the par genes, is involved in establishing the initial polarity of the embryo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Blastomeres
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology*
  • Genomic Imprinting
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Intestines / embryology
  • Mothers
  • Muscles / cytology
  • Muscles / embryology
  • Mutation
  • Pharynx / cytology
  • Pharynx / embryology
  • Phenotype