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Cell. 1992 Jul 10;70(1):163-76.

The pie-1 and mex-1 genes and maternal control of blastomere identity in early C. elegans embryos.

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Department of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98104.


During C. elegans embryogenesis an 8-cell stage blastomere, called MS, undergoes a reproducible cleavage pattern, producing pharyngeal cells, body wall muscles, and cell deaths. We show here that maternal-effect mutations in the pie-1 and mex-1 genes cause additional 8-cell stage blastomeres to adopt a fate very similar to that of the wild-type MS blastomere. In pie-1 mutants one additional posterior blastomere adopts an MS-like fate, and in mex-1 mutants four additional anterior blastomeres adopt an MS-like fate. We propose that maternally provided pie-1(+) and mex-1(+) gene products may function in the early embryo to localize or regulate factors that determine the fate of the MS blastomere.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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