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Membrane fusion as a morphogenetic force in nematode development

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For more content, see Nematologica.

In Caenorhabditis elegans almost all the epithelial cells fuse to form permanent syncytia. Cells in the vulva and hypodermis fuse autonomously to produce ring shaped cells with defined structures and functions. Analysis of temporal and spatial sequence of events together with ultrastructural characterisation of cell fusion intermediates show that fusion pores in specific domains of the membranes dilate and subsequently vesicles are formed. The fusomorphogenetic hypothesis states that these vesicles are targeted to different domains of the plasma membrane where they fuse, thereby causing changes in cell shape. It is proposed that cell fusion and polarised membrane recycling are involved in the formation of ring cells. Fusomorphogenesis is a working model to investigate the forces that drive pattern formation and generate diversity of developmental mechanisms in nematodes.

Chez Caenorhabditis elegans, presque toutes les cellules épithéliales fusionnent pour former des syncytia permanents. Les cellules de la vulve et de l’hypoderme fusionnent de façon autonome et produisent des cellules en forme d’anneau avec des structures et des fonctions définies. L’analyse de la séquence temporelle et spatiale des événements, alliée à la caractérisation ultrastructurale des intermédiaires de fusion cellulaire, montre que des pores de fusion se dilatent dans des domaines membranaires spécifiques et que des vésicules sont par la suite formées. L’hypothèse fusomorphogénétique suggère que ces vésicules sont ciblées vers des domaines différents de la membrane plasmique, ou elles fusionnent, provoquant ainsi des changements de forme cellulaire. Il est proposé que la fusion cellulaire et le recyclage polarisé de membranes soient considérés comme impliqués dans la formation des cellules en anneau. La fusomorphogénèse est un guide de travail pour étudier les forces qui entraînent la formation d’un modèle spatial et engendrent la diversité des mécanismes de développement chez les nématodes.


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