Symmetry breaking and polarization of the C. elegans zygote by the polarity protein PAR-2

Seth Zonies, Fumio Motegi, Yingsong Hao, Geraldine Seydoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Polarization of the C. elegans zygote is initiated by ECT-2-dependent cortical flows, which mobilize the anterior PAR proteins (PAR-3, PAR-6 and PKC-3) away from the future posterior end of the embryo marked by the sperm centrosome. Here, we demonstrate the existence of a second, parallel and redundant pathway that can polarize the zygote in the absence of ECT-2-dependent cortical flows. This second pathway depends on the polarity protein PAR-2. We show that PAR-2 localizes to the cortex nearest the sperm centrosome even in the absence of cortical flows. Once on the cortex, PAR-2 antagonizes PAR-3-dependent recruitment of myosin, creating myosin flows that transport the anterior PAR complex away from PAR-2 in a positive-feedback loop. We propose that polarity in the C. elegans zygote is initiated by redundant ECT-2- and PAR-2-dependent mechanisms that lower PAR-3 levels locally, triggering a positive-feedback loop that polarizes the entire cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1669-1677
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopment
Volume137
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2010

Keywords

  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • PAR-2
  • Par proteins
  • Polarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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