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Cell. 1995 Oct 6;83(1):101-10.

The C. elegans gene lin-44, which controls the polarity of certain asymmetric cell divisions, encodes a Wnt protein and acts cell nonautonomously.

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  • 1Department of Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108, USA.


Mutations in the C. elegans gene lin-44 lead to reversals in the polarity of certain asymmetric cell divisions. We have discovered that lin-44 is a member of the Wnt family of genes, which encode secretory glycoproteins implicated in intercellular signaling. Both in situ hybridization experiments using lin-44 transcripts and experiments using reporter constructs designed to mimic patterns of lin-44 expression indicate that lin-44 is expressed in hypodermal cells at the tip of the tail and posterior to the cells with polarities affected by lin-44 mutations. Our mosaic analysis indicates that lin-44 acts cell nonautonomously. We propose that LIN-44 protein is secreted by tail hypodermal cells and affects the polarity of asymmetric cell divisions that occur more anteriorly in the tail.

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