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Dev Biol. 2006 Dec 15;300(2):635-46. Epub 2006 Aug 22.

Chondroitin acts in the guidance of gonadal distal tip cells in C. elegans.

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RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, 2-2-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0047, Japan.


In Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodites, the U-shaped gonad arms are formed by directed migration of the gonadal distal tip cells (DTCs). The stereotyped pattern of DTC migration is carefully controlled by extracellular and cell surface molecules during larval development. Here we report that two proteins, SQV-5 (chondroitin synthase) and its cofactor MIG-22 (chondroitin polymerizing factor), are required for chondroitin biosynthesis and are essential for the dorsally guided migration of DTCs. We found that MIG-22 is expressed in migrating DTCs, hypodermal seam cells, developing vulva and oocytes. The expression of SQV-5 or MIG-22 in both DTCs and hypodermis rescued the DTC migration defects of the relevant mutants more efficiently than when they were expressed in either single tissue. Furthermore, the expression of SQV-5 by the mig-22 promoter significantly rescued sqv-5 mutants, implying that these two proteins act in the same tissues and that chondroitin proteoglycans produced in both of these tissues are required for DTC migration. The DTC migration defects caused by sqv-5 or mig-22 mutations were partially suppressed in the anterior and enhanced in the posterior DTCs in unc-6, unc-5 or unc-40 mutant backgrounds, suggesting that chondroitin proteoglycans play roles in the UNC-6/netrin-dependent guidance of DTCs.

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