Biological tubes must develop and maintain their proper diameter in order to transport materials efficiently. These tubes are molded and protected in part by apical extracellular matrices (aECMs) that line their lumens. Despite their importance, aECMs are difficult to image in vivo and therefore poorly understood. The C. elegans vulva has been a paradigm for understanding many aspects of organogenesis. Here we describe the vulva luminal matrix, which contains chondroitin proteoglycans, Zona Pellucida (ZP) domain proteins, and other glycoproteins and lipid transporters related to those in mammals. Confocal and transmission electron microscopy revealed, with unprecedented detail, a complex and dynamic aECM. Different matrix factors assemble on the apical surfaces of each vulva cell type, with clear distinctions seen between Ras-dependent (1˚) and Notch-dependent (2˚) cell types. Genetic perturbations suggest that chondroitin and other aECM factors together generate a structured scaffold that both expands and constricts lumen shape.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)