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Development. 2002 Jan;129(2):387-97.

Cell polarity and gastrulation in C. elegans.

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Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.


Gastrulation in C. elegans embryos involves formation of a blastocoel and the ingression of surface cells into the blastocoel. Mutations in the par-3 gene cause abnormal separations between embryonic cells, suggesting that the PAR-3 protein has a role in blastocoel formation. In normal development, PAR proteins localize to either the apical or basal surfaces of cells prior to blastocoel formation; we demonstrate that this localization is determined by cell contacts. Cells that ingress into the blastocoel undergo an apical flattening associated with an apical concentration of non-muscle myosin. We provide evidence that ingression times are determined by genes that control cell fate, though interactions with neighboring cells can prevent ingression.

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