Learn More
Cell fusion occurs throughout development, from fertilization to organogenesis. The molecular mechanisms driving plasma membrane fusion in these processes remain unknown. While yeast mating offers an excellent model system in which to study cell fusion, all genes previously shown to regulate the process act at or before cell wall breakdown; i.e., well(More)
Cells are devices whose structures delimit function. For example, in the nervous system, neuronal and glial shapes dictate paths of information flow. To understand how cells acquire their shapes, we examined the formation of a sense organ in C. elegans. Using time-lapse imaging, we found that sensory dendrites form by stationary anchoring of dendritic tips(More)
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has a simple nervous system with glia restricted primarily to sensory organs. Some of the activities that would be provided by glia in the mammalian nervous system are either absent or provided by non-glial cell types in C. elegans, with only a select set of mammalian glial activities being similarly provided by(More)
A dendrite grows by sprouting filopodia, some of which mature into stable dendrite branches that bear synapses and sprout filopodia of their own. Recent work has shown that a filopodium begins deciding to become a stable branch within 1min of contacting a presynaptic partner, but what triggers this decision remains unknown. We consider the evidence for(More)
Under mating conditions, yeast cells adopt a characteristic pear-shaped morphology, called a "shmoo," as they project a cell extension toward their mating partners. Mating partners make contact at their shmoo tips, dissolve the intervening cell wall, and fuse their plasma membranes. We identified mutations in ERG4, encoding the enzyme that catalyzes the(More)
During development, biomechanical forces contour the body and provide shape to internal organs. Using genetic and molecular approaches in combination with a FRET-based tension sensor, we characterized a pulling force exerted by the elongating pharynx (foregut) on the anterior epidermis during C. elegans embryogenesis. Resistance of the epidermis to this(More)
The molecular machines that mediate cell fusion are unknown. Previously, we identified a multispanning transmembrane protein, Prm1 (pheromone-regulated membrane protein 1), that acts during yeast mating (Heiman, M.G., and P. Walter. 2000. J. Cell Biol. 151:719-730). Without Prm1, a substantial fraction of mating pairs arrest with their plasma membranes(More)
Simple cell-cell interactions can give rise to complex cellular patterns. For example, neurons of the same type can interact to create a complex patchwork of non-overlapping dendrite arbors, a pattern known as dendrite tiling. Dendrite tiling often involves mutual repulsion between neighboring neurons. While dendrite tiling is found across nervous systems,(More)
A major goal in the study of human diseases is to assign functions to genes or genetic variants. The model organism Caenorhabditis elegans provides a powerful tool because homologs of many human genes are identifiable, and large collections of genetic vectors and mutant strains are available. However, the delivery of such vector libraries into mutant(More)
Neurons are the pedestals of human consciousness, yet from a cell biological view they are little more than specialized epithelia. Indeed, as highlighted in the " Neuronal Development and Degeneration " Minisymposium, neurons inhabit conventional cell biology at an extreme: in their diversity of cell types, the specificity of their cell–cell junctions and(More)