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Piwi proteins specify an animal-specific subclass of the Argonaute family that, in vertebrates, is specifically expressed in germ cells. We demonstrate that zebrafish Piwi (Ziwi) is expressed in both the male and the female gonad and is a component of a germline-specifying structure called nuage. Loss of Ziwi function results in a progressive loss of germ(More)
During C. elegans embryogenesis an 8-cell stage blastomere, called MS, undergoes a reproducible cleavage pattern, producing pharyngeal cells, body wall muscles, and cell deaths. We show here that maternal-effect mutations in the pie-1 and mex-1 genes cause additional 8-cell stage blastomeres to adopt a fate very similar to that of the wild-type MS(More)
The autonomous or cell-intrinsic developmental properties of early embryonic blastomeres in nematodes are thought to result from the action of maternally provided determinants. After the first cleavage of the C. elegans embryo, only the posterior blastomere, P1, has a cell-intrinsic ability to produce pharyngeal cells. The product of the maternal gene skn-1(More)
Totipotent germline blastomeres in Caenorhabditis elegans contain, but do not respond to, factors that promote somatic differentiation in other embryonic cells. Mutations in the maternal gene pie-1 result in the germline blastomeres adopting somatic cell fates. Here we show that pie-1 encodes a nuclear protein, PIE-1, that is localized to the germline(More)
The sister blastomeres ABp and ABa are equipotent at the beginning of the 4-cell stage in C. elegans embryos, but soon become committed to different fates. We show that the glp-1 gene, a homolog of the Notch gene of Drosophila, functions in two distinct cell-cell interactions that specify the ABp and ABa fates. These interactions both require maternal(More)
Nematodes are covered by a cuticle with a prominent pattern of circumferentially oriented, parallel furrows. We report here that the pattern of furrows on the first larval cuticle of Caenorhabditis elegans, which is secreted during embryogenesis, is coincident with a pattern of submembranous actin filament bundles in the epithelial cells that secrete the(More)
After the first division of the C. elegans embryo, the posterior blastomere can produce numerous muscles while the anterior blastomere cannot. We show here that maternal-effect lethal mutations in the gene mex-3 cause descendants of the anterior blastomere to produce muscles by a pattern of development similar to that of a descendant of the wild-type(More)
The development of vertebrate limb buds is triggered in the lateral plate mesoderm by a cascade of genes, including members of the Fgf and Wnt families, as well as the transcription factor tbx5. Fgf8, which is expressed in the intermediate mesoderm, is thought to initiate forelimb formation by activating wnt2b, which then induces the expression of tbx5 in(More)
T-box genes encode transcriptional regulators that control many aspects of embryonic development. Here, we demonstrate that the mesodermally expressed zebrafish spadetail (spt)/VegT and no tail (ntl)/Brachyury T-box genes are semi-redundantly and cell-autonomously required for formation of all trunk and tail mesoderm. Despite the lack of posterior mesoderm(More)
Classical embryological studies have implied the existence of an apical ectodermal maintenance factor (AEMF) that sustains signaling from the apical ectodermal ridge (AER) during vertebrate limb development. Recent evidence suggests that AEMF activity is composed of different signals involving both a sonic hedgehog (Shh) signal and a fibroblast growth(More)