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Live Imaging for Studying Asymmetric Cell Division in the C. elegans Embryo.

Rabilotta A, Amini R, Labbé JC

Cell Division and Differentiation Laboratory, Institute of Research in Immunology and Cancer, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Asymmetric cell division is essential during development to generate cell diversity and throughout adult life to maintain tissue homeostasis. For instance, many types of stem cells must divide asymmetrically to maintain their self-renewal capacities. Furthermore, recent studies suggest that the loss of asymmetric division could be used by cancer stem cells to trigger excessive proliferation of undifferentiated cells during tumorigenesis. The embryo of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a simple and powerful model to study asymmetric cell division. After fertilization, the zygote undergoes a series of symmetric and asymmetric divisions regulated by highly reproducible events that can be followed and quantified by real-time microscopy. Deciphering the pathways involved in the control of asymmetric division in C. elegans embryos could lead to a better understanding of this process in stem cells and to more specific therapeutic approaches for certain human cancers.

Methods Mol. Biol. 2012;916:111-25.

Pubmed ID: 22914936

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