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Cell. 1999 Dec 23;99(7):781-90.

The ephrin VAB-2/EFN-1 functions in neuronal signaling to regulate epidermal morphogenesis in C. elegans.

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Department of Biology, Sinsheimer Laboratories, University of California, Santa Cruz 95064, USA.


The Eph receptor VAB-1 is required in neurons for epidermal morphogenesis during C. elegans embryogenesis. Two models were proposed for the non-autonomous role of VAB-1: neuronal VAB-1 might signal directly to epidermis, or VAB-1 signaling between neurons might be required for epidermal development. We show that the ephrin VAB-2 (also known as EFN-1) is a ligand for VAB-1 and can function in neurons to regulate epidermal morphogenesis. In the absence of VAB-1 signaling, ephrin-expressing neurons are disorganized. vab-2/efn-1 mutations synergize with vab-1 kinase alleles, suggesting that VAB-2/EFN-1 may partly function in a kinase-independent VAB-1 pathway. Our data indicate that ephrin signaling between neurons is required nonautonomously for epidermal morphogenesis in C. elegans.

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