Early patterning of the C. elegans embryo

Annu Rev Genet. 1998;32:521-45. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genet.32.1.521.


Studies of about 20 maternally expressed genes are providing an understanding of mechanisms of patterning and cell-fate determination in the early Caenorhabditis elegans embryo. The analyses have revealed that fates of the early blastomeres are specified by a combination of intrinsically asymmetric cell divisions and two types of cell-cell interactions: inductions and polarizing interactions. In this review we summarize the current level of understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes in the specification of cell fates in the pregastrulation embryo.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Division
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Mutation
  • Signal Transduction