Wnt Signaling regulates Q Neuroblast Cell Polarization and Migration in Caenorhabditis elegans
Neuronal migration is an essential process that establishes the intricate and precise connectivity of the nervous system. Here, we study the molecular mechanisms of neuronal migration, using Q neuroblast lineages in C.elegans as a model. The left and right Q neuroblasts are equivalent lineages that show distinct migratory patterns along the antero-posterior axis. The Q descendants on the left (QL) migrate posteriorly, whereas those on the right (QR) migrate anteriorly. The posterior QL descendant migration requires the EGL-20/Wnt-dependent Hox gene mab-5. mab-5 repressed another Hox gene, lin-39, whose expression would otherwise promote anterior migration. In addition to this transcriptional regulation, another Wnt CWN-1 and Frizzled receptor MOM-5 promote QR anterior migration. We found that CWN-1/MOM-5 and LIN-39 act in parallel to promote Q cell anterior migration. CWN-1 instructed QR.pa anterior polarization and also influences the polarization of QL.pa that lacked EGL-20/MAB-5 signaling. We show that the Frizzleds MIG-1 and MOM-5 were expressed and functioned autonomously in the QL and QR descendants. Furthermore, we found that the planar cell polarity gene vang-1, which is the C. elegans homolog of the mammalian Vangl2 and Drosophila van Gogh/Strabismus, strongly suppressed QL anterior migration in the mig-1 mutant, and improved QR undermigration in the cwn-1 or egl-20 mutants. These data suggest that PCP genes regulate the Q cell migration.
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