N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor is required for fusion of the C. elegans uterine anchor cell

Jaebok Choi, Keri L. Richards, Hediye Nese Cinar, Anna P. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The fusion of the Caenorhabditis elegans uterine anchor cell (AC) with the uterine-seam cell (utse) is an excellent model system for studying cell-cell fusion, which is essential to animal development. We obtained an egg-laying defective (Egl) mutant in which the AC fails to fuse with the utse. This defect is highly specific: other aspects of utse development and other cell fusions appear to occur normally. We find that defect is due to a missense mutation in the nsf-1 gene, which encodes N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF), an intracellular membrane fusion factor. There are two NSF-1 isoforms, which are expressed in distinct tissues through two separate promoters. NSF-1L is expressed in the uterus, including the AC. We find that nsf-1 is required cell-autonomously in the AC for its fusion with the utse. Our results establish AC fusion as a paradigm for studying cell fusion at single cell resolution and demonstrate that the NSF ATPase is a key player in this process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-102
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


  • AC
  • C. elegans
  • Cell fusion
  • NSF
  • utse


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