Casein Kinase I (CKI) is a conserved component of the Wnt signaling pathway that regulates cell fate determination in metazoans. We show that post-embryonic asymmetric division and fate specification of C. elegans epidermal stem cells are controlled by a non-canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, involving the β-catenins WRM-1 and SYS-1, and that C. elegans kin-19/CKIα functions in this pathway. Furthermore, we find that kin-19 is the only member of the Wnt asymmetry pathway that functions with, or in parallel to, the heterochronic temporal patterning pathway to control withdrawal from self-renewal and subsequent terminal differentiation of epidermal stem cells. We show that, except in the case of kin-19, the Wnt asymmetry pathway and the heterochronic pathway function separately and in parallel to control different aspects of epidermal stem cell fate specification. However, given the function of kin-19/CKIα in both pathways, and that CKI, Wnt signaling pathway and heterochronic pathway genes are widely conserved in animals, our findings suggest that CKIα may function as a regulatory hub through which asymmetric division and terminal differentiation are coordinated in adult stem cells of vertebrates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology