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Dev Dyn. 2014 Jan;243(1):159-71.

Patterning of sexually dimorphic neurogenesis in the caenorhabditis elegans ventral cord by Hox and TALE homeodomain transcription factors.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Reproduction in animals requires development of distinct neurons in each sex. In C. elegans, most ventral cord neurons (VCNs) are present in both sexes, with the exception of six hermaphrodite-specific neurons (VCs) and nine pairs of male-specific neurons (CAs and CPs) that arise from analogous precursor cells. How are the activities of sexual regulators and mediators of neuronal survival, division, and fate coordinated to generate sex-specificity in VCNs?

RESULTS:

To address this, we have developed a toolkit of VCN markers that allows us to examine sex-specific neurogenesis, asymmetric fates of daughters of a neuroblast division, and regional specification on the anteroposterior axis. Here, we describe the roles of the Hox transcription factors LIN-39 and MAB-5 in promoting survival, differentiation, and regionalization of VCNs. We also find that the TALE class homeodomain proteins CEH-20 and UNC-62 contribute to specification of neurotransmitter fate in males. Furthermore, we identify that VCN sex is determined during the L1 larval stage.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings, combined with future analyses made possible by the suite of VCN markers described here, will elucidate how Hox-mediated cell fate decisions and sex determination intersect to influence development of neuronal sex differences.

PMID:
24115648
DOI:
10.1002/dvdy.24064
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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