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Actin-based forces driving embryonic morphogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Morphogenesis is the process by which multicellular organisms transform themselves from a ball of cells into an organized animal. Certain virtues of Caenorhabditis elegans make it an excellent model system for the study of this process: it is genetically tractable, develops as a transparent embryo with small cell-numbers, and yet still contains all the major tissues typical of animals. Furthermore, certain morphogenetic events are also amenable to study by direct manipulation of the cells involved. Given these advantages, it has been possible to use C. elegans to investigate the different ways in which the actin cytoskeleton drives the cellular rearrangements underlying morphogenesis, through regulated polymerization or actomyosin contraction. Recent insights from this system have determined the involvement in morphogenesis of key proteins, including the actin-regulating WASP and Ena proteins, potential guidance molecules such as the Eph and Robo receptors, and the cell-cell signaling proteins of the Wnt pathway.[1]


  1. Actin-based forces driving embryonic morphogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Marston, D.J., Goldstein, B. Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. (2006) [Pubmed]
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