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Cell. 1995 May 19;81(4):611-20.

par-1, a gene required for establishing polarity in C. elegans embryos, encodes a putative Ser/Thr kinase that is asymmetrically distributed.

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Section of Genetics and Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


The first cleavage of C. elegans is asymmetric, generating daughter cells with different sizes, cytoplasmic components, and fates. Mutations in the par-1 gene disrupt this asymmetry. We report here that par-1 encodes a putative Ser/Thr kinase with similarity to kinases from yeasts and mammals. Two strong alleles have mutations in the kinase domain, suggesting that kinase activity is essential for par-1 function. PAR-1 protein is localized to the posterior periphery of the zygote and is distributed in a polar fashion preceding the asymmetric divisions of the germline lineage. Because PAR-1 distribution in the germline correlates with the distribution of germline-specific P granules, it is possible that PAR-1 functions in germline development as well as in establishing embryonic polarity.

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