Stable segregation of PAR proteins in the early C elegans embryo

  • Date: 09/20/2007

Adriana Dawes (University of Washington (Friday Harbor Labs) )


University of British Columbia


PAR proteins, collectively termed the anterior and posterior PAR
proteins, establish distinct intracellular spatial domains in the one
cell C elegans embryo, polarizing the cell. This polarization is
persistent, lasting approximately 10-20 minutes until first cleavage.
It has been established experimentally that the anterior and posterior
PAR proteins interact through mutual phosphorylation, and recent
genetic studies indicate that the anterior PAR proteins are capable of
oligomerizing. Using mathematical modelling, I show that known
interactions between the PAR proteins give rise to a bistable switch
that may account for the stable segregation of the PAR proteins. The
presence of a bistable switch in the C elegans embryo is verified
experimentally by depleting the anterior PARs using RNA interference,
providing a direct test of the mathematical model.

Other Information: 

MITACS Math Biology Seminar 2007