IMR Press / FBL / Volume 14 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.2741/3316

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Article

The assembly and maintenance of epithelial junctions in C. elegans

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1 Program in Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
2 Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Academic Editor:Andrei Ivanov
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2009, 14(4), 1414–1432;
Published: 1 January 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular engines that build and break epithelial junctions)

The epithelial tissues of the C. elegans embryo provide a "minimalist" system for examining phylogenetically conserved proteins that function in epithelial polarity and cell-cell adhesion in a multicellular organism. In this review, we provide an overview of three major molecular complexes at the apical surface of epithelial cells in the C. elegans embryo: the cadherin-catenin complex, the more basal DLG-1/AJM-1 complex, and the apical membrane domain, which shares similarities with the subapical complex in Drosophila and the PAR/aPKC complex in vertebrates. We discuss how the assembly of these complexes contributes to epithelial polarity and adhesion, proteins that act as effectors and/or regulators of each subdomain, and how these complexes functionally interact during embryonic morphogenesis. Although much remains to be clarified, significant progress has been made in recent years to clarify the role of these protein complexes in epithelial morphogenesis, and suggests that C. elegans will continue to be a fruitful system in which to elucidate functional roles for these proteins in a living embryo.

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