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Science 313 (5791): 1298-1301

Copyright © 2006 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

CYK-4/GAP Provides a Localized Cue to Initiate Anteroposterior Polarity upon Fertilization

Noah Jenkins,* Jennifer R. Saam,* Susan E. Mango{ddagger}

Abstract: The Caenorhabditis elegans anteroposterior axis is established in response to fertilization by sperm. Here we present evidence that RhoA, the guanine nucleotide–exchange factor ECT-2, and the Rho guanosine triphosphatase–activating protein CYK-4 modulate myosin light-chain activity to create a gradient of actomyosin, which establishes the anterior domain. CYK-4 is enriched within sperm, and paternally donated CYK-4 is required for polarity. These data suggest that CYK-4 provides a molecular link between fertilization and polarity establishment in the one-cell embryo. Orthologs of CYK-4 are expressed in sperm of other species, which suggests that this cue may be evolutionarily conserved.

Department of Oncological Sciences, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{ddagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:{at}

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