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Vitam Horm. 2011;87:61-77. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-386015-6.00024-X.

Insulin and germline proliferation in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Developmental Genetics Program, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Stem Cell Biology, Department of Pathology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.


Germline proliferation in Caenorhabditis elegans is emerging as a compelling model system for understanding the molecular basis for the developmental and physiological control of cell proliferation. This review covers the discovery and implications of the role of the insulin/IGF-like signaling pathway in germline proliferation during germline development. This pathway plays a host of important roles in C. elegans biology. Its role in germline proliferation is important to generate the proper adult stem/progenitor population and to ensure optimal fecundity. Moreover, in this role, it is restricted to reproductive (as opposed to dauer) larval stages and impinges on the G2 of the cell cycle. Two putative insulin ligands are especially important for the germline role but do not mediate signaling in other tissues. A picture is emerging of a complex web of developmentally and temporally restricted, ligand- and tissue-specific responses to insulin signaling. Avenues for future studies include the regulation of specific insulin-like ligands and the mechanisms for tissue-specific responses to them.

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