Protruding vulva mutants identify novel loci and Wnt signaling factors that function during Caenorhabditis elegans vulva development.

Department of Developmental Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
Genetics (Impact Factor: 4.87). 12/2000; 156(3):1097-116.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Caenorhabditis elegans vulva develops from the progeny of three vulval precursor cells (VPCs) induced to divide and differentiate by a signal from the somatic gonad. Evolutionarily conserved Ras and Notch extracellular signaling pathways are known to function during this process. To identify novel loci acting in vulval development, we carried out a genetic screen for mutants having a protruding-vulva (Pvl) mutant phenotype. Here we report the initial genetic characterization of several novel loci: bar-1, pvl-4, pvl-5, and pvl-6. In addition, on the basis of their Pvl phenotypes, we show that the previously identified genes lin-26, mom-3/mig-14, egl-18, and sem-4 also function during vulval development. Our characterization indicates that (1) pvl-4 and pvl-5 are required for generation/survival of the VPCs; (2) bar-1, mom-3/mig-14, egl-18, and sem-4 play a role in VPC fate specification; (3) lin-26 is required for proper VPC fate execution; and (4) pvl-6 acts during vulval morphogenesis. In addition, two of these genes, bar-1 and mom-3/mig-14, are known to function in processes regulated by Wnt signaling, suggesting that a Wnt signaling pathway is acting during vulval development.

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