Caenorhabditis elegans vulval development culminates during exit from the L4-to-adult molt with the formation of an opening through the adult hypodermis and cuticle that is used for egg laying and mating. Vulva formation requires the heterochronic gene lin-29, which triggers hypodermal cell terminal differentiation during the final molt, lin-29 mutants are unable to lay eggs or mate because no vulval opening forms; instead, a protrusion forms at the site of the vulva. We demonstrate through analysis of genetic mosaics that lin-29 is absolutely required in a small subset of lateral hypodermal seam cells, adjacent to the vulva, for wild-type vulva formation and egg laying. However, lin-29 function is not strictly limited to the lateral hypodermis. First, LIN-29 accumulates in many non-hypodermal cells with known roles in vulva formation or egg laying. Second, animals homozygous for one lin-29 allele, ga94, have the vulval defect and cannot lay eggs, despite having a terminally differentiated adult lateral hypodermis. Finally, vulval morphogenesis and egg laying requires lin-29 activity within the EMS lineage, a lineage that does not generate hypodermal cells.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|State||Published - 1997|
- Caenorhabditis elegans
- Vulva morphogenesis