Special Issue "Caenorhabditis elegans - A Developmental Genetic Model System"

A special issue of Journal of Developmental Biology (ISSN 2221-3759).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Morris F. Maduro

Department of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, United States
Website | E-Mail
Interests: gene regulatory networks; gene regulation; organogenesis; robustness; metabolism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Although C. elegans is a relatively new player in invertebrate development model systems compared with Drosophila, having been brought into the field by Sydney Brenner in the mid-1970s, it remains a valuable system for studies in developmental genetics. Owing to its rapid development, well-defined lineage and availability of a continually developing set of powerful tools, including single-cell transcriptomics, ability to identify mutations with whole genome sequencing, and custom gene editing with CRISPR/Cas9, discoveries continue to be made in C. elegans in many areas of developmental biology. This Special Issue of the Journal of Developmental Biology aims to highlight some of these findings and speculate on the future of work in this system. Submissions may be reviews of C. elegans contributions to a major area in developmental genetics, or an original research article that reports new findings in such an area.

Prof. Dr. Morris F. Maduro
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Developmental Biology is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • C. elegans
  • Stem cells
  • Gene regulatory networks
  • Differentiation
  • Sex Determination
  • Morphogenesis
  • Germline/Soma Asymmetry

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Chromatin Remodeler LET-418/Mi2 is Required Cell Non-Autonomously for the Post-Embryonic Development of Caenorhabditis elegans
J. Dev. Biol. 2019, 7(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/jdb7010001
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 24 December 2018
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Abstract
Chromatin condition is crucial for the cells to respond to their environment. In C. elegans, post-embryonic development is accompanied by the exit of progenitor cells from quiescence in response to food. The chromatin protein LET-418/Mi2 is required for this transition in development [...] Read more.
Chromatin condition is crucial for the cells to respond to their environment. In C. elegans, post-embryonic development is accompanied by the exit of progenitor cells from quiescence in response to food. The chromatin protein LET-418/Mi2 is required for this transition in development indicating that proper chromatin structure in cells of the freshly hatched larvae is important to respond to food. However, the identity of the tissue or cells where LET-418/Mi2 is required, as well as the developmental signals that it is modulating have not been elucidated. By restoring the activity of LET-418/Mi2 in specific tissues, we demonstrate that its activity in the intestine and the hypodermis is able to promote in a cell non-autonomous manner the exit of blast cells from quiescence and further development. Furthermore, we identify the IIS (insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling) pathway to be one of the signaling pathways that is conveying LET-418/Mi2 cell non-autonomous effect on development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Caenorhabditis elegans - A Developmental Genetic Model System)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Novel Technological Advances in Functional Connectomics in C. elegans
J. Dev. Biol. 2019, 7(2), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/jdb7020008
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2019 / Accepted: 13 February 2019 / Published: 23 April 2019
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Abstract
The complete structure and connectivity of the Caenorhabditis elegans nervous system (“mind of a worm”) was first published in 1986, representing a critical milestone in the field of connectomics. The reconstruction of the nervous system (connectome) at the level of synapses provided a [...] Read more.
The complete structure and connectivity of the Caenorhabditis elegans nervous system (“mind of a worm”) was first published in 1986, representing a critical milestone in the field of connectomics. The reconstruction of the nervous system (connectome) at the level of synapses provided a unique perspective of understanding how behavior can be coded within the nervous system. The following decades have seen the development of technologies that help understand how neural activity patterns are connected to behavior and modulated by sensory input. Investigations on the developmental origins of the connectome highlight the importance of role of neuronal cell lineages in the final connectivity matrix of the nervous system. Computational modeling of neuronal dynamics not only helps reconstruct the biophysical properties of individual neurons but also allows for subsequent reconstruction of whole-organism neuronal network models. Hence, combining experimental datasets with theoretical modeling of neurons generates a better understanding of organismal behavior. This review discusses some recent technological advances used to analyze and perturb whole-organism neuronal function along with developments in computational modeling, which allows for interrogation of both local and global neural circuits, leading to different behaviors. Combining these approaches will shed light into how neural networks process sensory information to generate the appropriate behavioral output, providing a complete understanding of the worm nervous system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Caenorhabditis elegans - A Developmental Genetic Model System)
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Open AccessReview
Regulation of Actin Dynamics in the C. elegans Somatic Gonad
J. Dev. Biol. 2019, 7(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/jdb7010006
Received: 17 February 2019 / Revised: 13 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
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Abstract
The reproductive system of the hermaphroditic nematode C. elegans consists of a series of contractile cell types—including the gonadal sheath cells, the spermathecal cells and the spermatheca–uterine valve—that contract in a coordinated manner to regulate oocyte entry and exit of the fertilized embryo [...] Read more.
The reproductive system of the hermaphroditic nematode C. elegans consists of a series of contractile cell types—including the gonadal sheath cells, the spermathecal cells and the spermatheca–uterine valve—that contract in a coordinated manner to regulate oocyte entry and exit of the fertilized embryo into the uterus. Contraction is driven by acto-myosin contraction and relies on the development and maintenance of specialized acto-myosin networks in each cell type. Study of this system has revealed insights into the regulation of acto-myosin network assembly and contractility in vivo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Caenorhabditis elegans - A Developmental Genetic Model System)
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Open AccessReview
The Signaling Network Controlling C. elegans Vulval Cell Fate Patterning
J. Dev. Biol. 2018, 6(4), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/jdb6040030
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 8 December 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2352 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
EGF, emitted by the Anchor Cell, patterns six equipotent C. elegans vulval precursor cells to assume a precise array of three cell fates with high fidelity. A group of core and modulatory signaling cascades forms a signaling network that demonstrates plasticity during the [...] Read more.
EGF, emitted by the Anchor Cell, patterns six equipotent C. elegans vulval precursor cells to assume a precise array of three cell fates with high fidelity. A group of core and modulatory signaling cascades forms a signaling network that demonstrates plasticity during the transition from naïve to terminally differentiated cells. In this review, we summarize the history of classical developmental manipulations and molecular genetics experiments that led to our understanding of the signals governing this process, and discuss principles of signal transduction and developmental biology that have emerged from these studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Caenorhabditis elegans - A Developmental Genetic Model System)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
G Proteins and GPCRs in C. elegans Development: A Story of Mutual Infidelity
J. Dev. Biol. 2018, 6(4), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/jdb6040028
Received: 20 October 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 25 November 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2069 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many vital processes during C. elegans development, especially the establishment and maintenance of cell polarity in embryogenesis, are controlled by complex signaling pathways. G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), such as the four Frizzled family Wnt receptors, are linchpins in regulating and orchestrating several of [...] Read more.
Many vital processes during C. elegans development, especially the establishment and maintenance of cell polarity in embryogenesis, are controlled by complex signaling pathways. G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), such as the four Frizzled family Wnt receptors, are linchpins in regulating and orchestrating several of these mechanisms. However, despite being GPCRs, which usually couple to G proteins, these receptors do not seem to activate classical heterotrimeric G protein-mediated signaling cascades. The view on signaling during embryogenesis is further complicated by the fact that heterotrimeric G proteins do play essential roles in cell polarity during embryogenesis, but their activity is modulated in a predominantly GPCR-independent manner via G protein regulators such as GEFs GAPs and GDIs. Further, the triggered downstream effectors are not typical. Only very few GPCR-dependent and G protein-mediated signaling pathways have been unambiguously defined in this context. This unusual and highly intriguing concept of separating GPCR function and G-protein activity, which is not restricted to embryogenesis in C. elegans but can also be found in other organisms, allows for essential and multi-faceted ways of regulating cellular communication and response. Although its relevance cannot be debated, its impact is still poorly discussed, and C. elegans is an ideal model to understand the underlying principles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Caenorhabditis elegans - A Developmental Genetic Model System)
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