The establishment of Caenorhabditis elegans germline pattern is controlled by overlapping proximal and distal somatic gonad signals

Anita S.R. Pepper, Te Wen Lo, Darrell J. Killian, David H. Hall, E. Jane Albert Hubbard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


We investigated the control of proliferation and differentiation in the larval Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodite germ line through analysis of glp-1 and lag-2 mutants, cell ablations, and ultrastructural data. After the first several rounds of germ cell division, GLP-1, a receptor of the LIN-12/Notch family, governs germline proliferation. We analyzed the proximal proliferation (Pro) phenotype in glp-1(ar202) and found that initial meiosis was delayed and spatially mispositioned. This is due, at least in part, to a heightened response of the mutant GLP-1 receptor to multiple sources of the somatic ligand LAG-2, including the proximal somatic gonad. We investigated whether proximal LAG-2 affects germline proliferation in the wild type. Our results indicate that (1) LAG-2 is necessary for GLP-1-mediated germline proliferation and prevention of early meiosis, and (2) several distinct anatomical sources of LAG-2 in the larval somatic gonad functionally overlap to promote proliferation and prevent early meiosis. Ultrastructural studies suggest that mitosis is not restricted to areas of direct DTC-germ line contact and that the germ line shares a common cytoplasm in larval stages. We propose that downregulation of the GLP-1 signaling pathway in the proximal germ line at the time of meiotic onset is under tight temporal and spatial control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-350
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2003



  • C. elegans
  • GLP-1/Notch
  • Germ line
  • Gonadogenesis
  • LAG-2
  • Meiosis
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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