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Cell. 1995 Dec 1;83(5):743-52.

Asymmetrically distributed PAR-3 protein contributes to cell polarity and spindle alignment in early C. elegans embryos.

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


The par-3 gene is required for establishing polarity in early C. elegans embryos. Embryos from par-3 homozygous mothers show defects in segregation of cytoplasmic determinants and in positioning of the early cleavage spindles. We report here that the PAR-3 protein is asymmetrically distributed at the periphery of the zygote and asymmetrically dividing blastomeres of the germline lineage. The PAR-3 distribution is roughly the reciprocal of PAR-1, another protein required for establishing embryonic polarity in C. elegans. Analysis of the distribution of PAR-3 and PAR-1 in other par mutants reveals that par-2 activity is required for proper localization of PAR-3 and that PAR-3 is required for proper localization of PAR-1. In addition, the distribution of the PAR-3 protein correlates with differences in cleavage spindle orientation and suggests a mechanism by which PAR-3 contributes to control of cleavage pattern.

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