The development of the Caenorhabditis elegans vulva requires the involution of epithelial cells and provides a model for organ morphogenesis. Mutations in C. elegans sqv (squashed vulva) genes affect both vulval morphogenesis and embryonic development. We found that sqv-4 encodes a protein similar to UDP-glucose dehydrogenases and showed that the SQV-4 protein specifically catalyzes the conversion of UDP-glucose to UDP-glucuronic acid, which is essential for the biosynthesis of chondroitin and heparan sulfate proteoglycans. SQV-4 is expressed in the vulva and in oocytes, among many other cells, and SQV-4 levels are dramatically increased in a specific subset of vulval cells during vulval morphogenesis. We propose that the regulation of UDP-glucuronic acid production in a specific subset of vulval cells helps determine the shape of the vulva.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Oct 29 2002|
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