The expression of the C. elegans labial-like Hox gene ceh-13 during early embryogenesis relies on cell fate and on anteroposterior cell polarity.
Clusters of homeobox-containing HOM-C/hox genes determine the morphology of animal body plans and body parts and are thought to mediate positional information. Here, we describe the onset of embryonic expression of ceh-13, the Caenorhabditis elegans orthologue of the Drosophila labial gene, which is the earliest gene of the C. elegans Hox gene cluster to be activated in C. elegans development. At the beginning of gastrulation, ceh-13 is asymmetrically expressed in posterior daughters of anteroposterior divisions, first in the posterior daughter of the intestinal precursor cell E and then in all posterior daughters of the AB descendants ABxxx. In this paper, we present evidence that supports position-independent activation of ceh-13 during early C. elegans embryogenesis, which integrates cell fate determinants and cell polarity cues. Our findings imply that mechanisms other than cell-extrinsic anteroposterior positional signals play an important role in the activation and regulation of the C. elegans Hox gene ceh-13.
Wittmann, C; Bossinger, O; Goldstein, B; Fleischmann, M; Kohler, R; Brunschwig, K; Tobler, H; Müller, F
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