Morphologically Defined Substages of Tail Morphogenesis in C. Elegans Males

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Background Sex-specific morphogenesis occurs in C. elegans in the vulva of the hermaphrodite and in the male tail during the last larval stage. Temporal progression of vulva morphogenesis has been described in fine detail. However, a similar precise description of male tail morphogenesis was lacking.

Results We here describe morphogenesis of the male tail at time points matching vulva development with special focus on morphogenesis of the tail tip. Using fluorescent reporters, we follow changes in cell shapes, cell fusions, nuclear migration, modifications in the basement membrane and formation of a new apical extracellular matrix at the end of the tail.

Conclusion Our analysis answers two open questions about tail tip morphogenesis (TTM) by showing that one of the four tail tip cells, hyp11, remains separate while the other cells fuse with each other and with two additional tail cells to form a ventral tail syncytium. This fusion begins early during TTM but is only completed towards the end of the process. This work provides a framework for future investigations of cell-biological factors that drive male tail morpogenesis.


This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review, January 2024.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.