Cell intrinsic modulation of Wnt signaling controls neuroblast migration in C. elegans

Remco A Mentink, Teije C Middelkoop, Lorenzo Rella, Ni Ji, Chung Yin Tang, Marco C Betist, Alexander van Oudenaarden, Hendrik C Korswagen

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Members of the Wnt family of secreted signaling proteins are key regulators of cell migration and axon guidance. In the nematode C. elegans, the migration of the QR neuroblast descendants requires multiple Wnt ligands and receptors. We found that the migration of the QR descendants is divided into three sequential phases that are each mediated by a distinct Wnt signaling mechanism. Importantly, the transition from the first to the second phase, which is the main determinant of the final position of the QR descendants along the anteroposterior body axis, is mediated through a cell-autonomous process in which the time-dependent expression of a Wnt receptor turns on the canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling response that is required to terminate long-range anterior migration. Our results show that, in addition to direct guidance of cell migration by Wnt morphogenic gradients, cell migration can also be controlled indirectly through cell-intrinsic modulation of Wnt signaling responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-201
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2014


  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Polarity
  • Frizzled Receptors
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glycoproteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Morphogenesis
  • Neural Stem Cells
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-like Orphan Receptors
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Transcription Factors
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway
  • beta Catenin


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