Gap-junctional signaling mediates myriad cellular interactions in metazoans. Yet, how gap junctions control the positioning of cells in organs is not well understood. Innexins compose gap junctions in invertebrates and affect organ architecture. Here, we investigate the roles of gapjunctions in controlling distal somatic gonad architecture and its relationship to underlying germline stem cells in Caenorhabditis elegans. We show that a reduction of soma–germline gap-junctional activity causes displacement of distal sheath cells (Sh1) towards the distal end of the gonad. We confirm, by live imaging, transmission electron microscopy, and antibody staining, that bare regions—lacking somatic gonadal cell coverage of germ cells—are present between the distal tip cell (DTC) and Sh1, and we show that an innexin fusion protein used in a prior study encodes an antimorphic gap junction subunit that mispositions Sh1. We determine that, contrary to the model put forth in the prior study based on this fusion protein, Sh1 mispositioning does not markedly alter the position of the borders of the stem cell pool nor of the progenitor cell pool. Together, these results demonstrate that gap junctions can control the position of Sh1, but that Sh1 position is neither relevant for GLP-1/Notch signaling nor for the exit of germ cells from the stem cell pool.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)