Autonomous and nonautonomous regulation of Wnt-mediated neuronal polarity by the C. elegans Ror kinase CAM-1

Shih Chieh Jason Chien, Mark Gurling, Changsung Kim, Teresa Craft, Wayne Forrester, Gian Garriga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Wnts are a conserved family of secreted glycoproteins that regulate various developmental processes in metazoans. Three of the five Caenorhabditis elegans Wnts, CWN-1, CWN-2 and EGL-20, and the sole Wnt receptor of the Ror kinase family, CAM-1, are known to regulate the anterior polarization of the mechanosensory neuron ALM. Here we show that CAM-1 and the Frizzled receptor MOM-5 act in parallel pathways to control ALM polarity. We also show that CAM-1 has two functions in this process: an autonomous signaling function that promotes anterior polarization and a nonautonomous Wnt-antagonistic function that inhibits anterior polarization. These antagonistic activities can account for the weak ALM phenotypes displayed by cam-1 mutants. Our observations suggest that CAM-1 could function as a Wnt receptor in many developmental processes, but the analysis of cam-1 mutants may fail to reveal CAM-1's role as a receptor in these processes because of its Wnt-antagonistic activity. In this model, loss of CAM-1 results in increased levels of Wnts that act through other Wnt receptors, masking CAM-1's autonomous role as a Wnt receptor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-65
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • C. elegans
  • CAM-1
  • Neuronal polarity
  • Ror kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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