Cell Fate Specification in the Worm

Science's STKE  29 Nov 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 312, pp. tw426
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3122005tw426

Early in the development of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the vulva is composed of six precursor cells that have the potential to develop into one of three vulval cell fates, termed 1°, 2°, and 3°. The 1° and 2° fates are patterned through the cross-talk between two signaling pathways, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and the LIN-12/Notch pathway. Yoo and Greenwald (see the Perspective by Karp and Ambros) now show that a specific microRNA (miRNA), identified by a computational prediction analysis, is involved in specifying the 2° vulval cell fate. The miRNA mir-60 is a direct transcriptional target of LIN-12/Notch, and in turn, an ortholog of the oncogene Vav is the target of mir-60. The regulatory circle is completed by the regulation of LIN-12 activity by Vav.

A. S. Yoo, I. Greenwald, LIN-12/Notch activation leads to microRNA-mediated down-regulation of Vav in C. elegans. Science 310, 1330-1333 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]

X. Karp, V. Ambros, Encountering microRNAs in cell fate signaling. Science 310, 1288-1289 (2005). [Summary] [Full Text]