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Curr Biol. 2010 Oct 26;20(20):1875-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.09.055. Epub 2010 Oct 14.

LIN-14 inhibition of LIN-12 contributes to precision and timing of C. elegans vulval fate patterning.

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1
Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

Studies of C. elegans vulval development have illuminated mechanisms underlying cell fate specification and elucidated intercellular signaling pathways [1]. The vulval precursor cells (VPCs) are spatially patterned during the L3 stage by the EGFR-Ras-MAPK-mediated inductive signal and the LIN-12/Notch-mediated lateral signal. The pattern is both precise and robust [2] because of crosstalk between these pathways [3]. Signaling is also regulated temporally, because constitutive activation of the spatial patterning pathways does not alter the timing of VPC fate specification [4, 5]. The heterochronic genes, including the microRNA lin-4 and its target lin-14, constitute a temporal control mechanism used in different contexts [6-8]. We find that lin-4 specifically controls the activity of LIN-12/Notch through lin-14, but not other known targets, and that persistent lin-14 blocks LIN-12 activity without interfering with the key events of LIN-12/Notch signal transduction. In the L2 stage, there is sufficient lin-14 activity to inhibit constitutive lin-12. Our results suggest that lin-4 and lin-14 contribute to spatial patterning through temporal gating of LIN-12. We propose that in the L2 stage, lin-14 sets a high threshold for LIN-12 activation to help prevent premature activation of LIN-12 by ligands expressed in other cells in the vicinity, thereby contributing to the precision and robustness of VPC fate patterning.

PMID:
20951046
PMCID:
PMC3322352
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2010.09.055
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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