Faculty Advisor

Dr. Jill Rulfs

Faculty Advisor

Dr. David Adams

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Ryder


The mig-10 gene in C. elegans is required for proper axon guidance and/or cell migration of certain neurons during development. In mig-10 (ct41) mutant worms, there is incomplete migration of the anterior lateral microtubule cells (ALMs), hermaphrodite specific neuron (HSN), left coelomocyte cells (ccL), and canal associated neuron (CAN) (Manser and Wood, 1990). The mig-10 (ct41) mutation also causes axon guidance defects in the IL2 neurons, and it enhances unc-6 defects in the axon guidance of the anterior ventral microtubule cell (AVM) (Rusiecki, 1999; C. Quinn, personal communication). mig-10's function in axon guidance and neuronal migration is unknown, but is believed to be involved in a signal transduction pathway that uses a G-protein, such as ras. The two mig-10 transcripts discussed in this thesis, mig-10 A and mig-10 B, encode proteins that are similar to Grb-7 and Grb-10 proteins, which are also believed to function in a signal transduction pathway (Manser et al., 1997). One of these similarities is the presence of a proline-rich region, which may be used to bind another protein (Manser et al., 1997). The MIG-10 A protein has an additional proline region, compared to MIG-10 B, which may indicate that the MIG-10 A and B proteins are utilized in different cells, or at different developmental stages. As a first step in learning where MIG-10 is expressed, mig-10 (ct41) mutant worms containing a wild-type mig-10 B::GFP fusion were constructed. Rescue of the mutant phenotype would indicate that the expression pattern of the transgene was similar to that of the endogenous gene. As this experiment did not allow for rescue, even after integration of the construct, a strain of worms containing a mig-10 promoter::GFP transgene was used. Preliminary observations of this strain indicated that mig-10 is expressed in neuronal tissue. The AIY neurons were observed in wild-type and mig-10 (ct41) worms to determine if they are affected by the mig-10 mutation as previously reported (O. Hobert, personal communication). As no difference was detected, the AIYs were not used in any further experiments. In order to determine which cells require functional MIG-10 protein for the proper development/migration of neurons to occur, mig-10 (ct41) worms containing mec-3 promoter::mig-10 A or B cDNA transgenes were constructed. The mec-3 promoter drives expression of the mig-10 cDNA in the ALM neurons and other touch cells early in the development of the embryo. If these transgenes rescued the ALM migration defect, then mig-10 would be acting cell autonomously in ALM. Partial rescue was obtained, which may be due to the need for both of the mig-10 transcripts to be expressed in the same cell; alternatively, one or both transcripts may need to be expressed in a cell nonautonomous fashion in addition to being expressed cell autonomously. Low production of the rescuing protein, or expression of the protein at a later developmental stage than is needed for rescue to occur, may also have been the cause of the partial rescue. Future work in this area includes putting mig-10 promoter::mig-10 A or B cDNA in mig-10 (ct41) background to investigate if the different transcripts rescue different aspects of the mig-10 phenotype. The mig-10 A and mig-10 B cDNA constructs could also be expressed in the same worm in an attempt to correct for partial rescue that may be due to the lack of both MIG-10 proteins.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Biology & Biotechnology

Project Type


Date Accepted





axon outgrowth, signal transduction, C. elegans, cell migration, mig-10, Nervous system, Growth, Axons, Cell migration, Caenorhabditis elegans