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Cell. 1998 Jan 23;92(2):229-39.

POP-1 and anterior-posterior fate decisions in C. elegans embryos.

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Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.


Blastomeres in C. elegans embryos execute lineage programs wherein the fate of a cell is correlated reproducibly with the division sequence by which that cell is born. We provide evidence that the pop-1 gene functions to link anterior-posterior cell divisions with cell fate decisions. Each anterior cell resulting from an anterior-posterior division appears to have a higher level of nuclear POP-1 protein than does its posterior sister. Genes in the C. elegans Wnt pathway are required for this inequality in POP-1 levels. We show that loss of pop-1(+) activity leads to several types of anterior cells adopting the fates of their posterior sisters. These results suggest a mechanism for the invariance of blastomere lineages.

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