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Dev Biol. 2016 Aug 1;416(1):123-135. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2016.05.036. Epub 2016 Jun 8.

Anchor cell signaling and vulval precursor cell positioning establish a reproducible spatial context during C. elegans vulval induction.

Author information

1
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) UMR7277 - Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U1091, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, 06108 Nice cedex 02, France.
2
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.
3
Institute of Biology of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, CNRS UMR 8197 and INSERM U1024, 46 rue d'Ulm, 75230 Paris cedex 05, France.
4
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) UMR7277 - Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U1091, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, 06108 Nice cedex 02, France. Electronic address: braendle@unice.fr.

Abstract

How cells coordinate their spatial positioning through intercellular signaling events is poorly understood. Here we address this topic using Caenorhabditis elegans vulval patterning during which hypodermal vulval precursor cells (VPCs) adopt distinct cell fates determined by their relative positions to the gonadal anchor cell (AC). LIN-3/EGF signaling by the AC induces the central VPC, P6.p, to adopt a 1° vulval fate. Exact alignment of AC and VPCs is thus critical for correct fate patterning, yet, as we show here, the initial AC-VPC positioning is both highly variable and asymmetric among individuals, with AC and P6.p only becoming aligned at the early L3 stage. Cell ablations and mutant analysis indicate that VPCs, most prominently 1° cells, move towards the AC. We identify AC-released LIN-3/EGF as a major attractive signal, which therefore plays a dual role in vulval patterning (cell alignment and fate induction). Additionally, compromising Wnt pathway components also induces AC-VPC alignment errors, with loss of posterior Wnt signaling increasing stochastic vulval centering on P5.p. Our results illustrate how intercellular signaling reduces initial spatial variability in cell positioning to generate reproducible interactions across tissues.

PMID:
27288708
DOI:
10.1016/j.ydbio.2016.05.036
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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