The anchor cell initiates dorsal lumen formation during C. elegans vulval tubulogenesis

Kathleen A. Estes, Wendy Hanna-Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Tubulogenesis and lumen formation are critical to the development of most organs. We study Caenorhabditis elegans vulval and uterine development to probe the complex mechanisms that mediate these events. Development of the vulva and the ventral uterus is coordinated by the inductive cell-signaling activity of a gonadal cell called the anchor cell (AC). We demonstrate that in addition to its function in specifying fate, the AC directly promotes dorsal vulval tubulogenesis. Two types of mutants with defective anchor cell behavior reveal that anchor cell invasion of the vulva is important for forming the toroidal shape of the dorsal vulval cell, vulF. In fos-1 mutants, where the AC cannot breakdown the basement membranes between the gonad and the vulva, and in mutants in unc-6 netrin or its receptor unc-40, which cause AC migration defects, the AC fails to invade the vulva and no lumen is formed in vulF. By examining GFP markers of dorsal vulval cell fate, we demonstrate that fate specification defects do not account for the aberrant vulF shape. We propose that the presence of the AC in the center of the developing vulF toroid is required for dorsal vulval lumen formation to complete vulval tubulogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-304
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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