Gastrulation in Caenorhabditis elegans has been described by following the movements of individual nuclei in living embryos by Nomarski microscopy. Gastrulation starts in the 26-cell stage when the two gut precursors, Ea and Ep, move into the blastocoele. The migration of Ea and Ep does not depend on interactions with specific neighboring cells and appears to rely on the earlier fate specification of the E lineage. In particular, the long cell cycle length of Ea and Ep appears important for gastrulation. Later in embryogenesis, the precursors to the germline, muscle and pharynx join the E descendants in the interior. As in other organisms, the movement of gastrulation permit novel cell contacts that are important for the specification of certain cell fates.
- gastrulation/C. elegans/cell fate specification/cell interactions/cell movements