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Ciba Found Symp. 1989;144:212-20; discussion 221-6, 290-5.

Genetic control of cellular interactions in Caenorhabditis elegans development.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


During development of the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, cell interactions play a significant role in controlling cell fate. Regulatory cells in the somatic gonad control proliferation in the germline and induce formation of the vulva in the hypodermis. In the early embryo, mesodermal cells are induced in a process similar to embryonic induction. In addition, interactions between precursor cells of equivalent developmental potential direct one cell to adopt one fate and the other to adopt a second fate. Two genes have been identified in C. elegans that appear to mediate cell interactions. The glp-1 gene is required for embryonic induction and continued germline proliferation; lin-12 is required for cells of equal developmental potential to adopt different fates. Genetic mosaics indicate that glp-1 may be part of the receiving mechanism in controlling germline proliferation.

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