Isolation of actin-associated proteins from Caenorhabditis elegans oocytes and their localization in the early embryo.
The actin cytoskeleton plays an important, but poorly understood, role in the development of multicellular organisms. To help illuminate this role, we used actin filament affinity chromatography to isolate actin binding proteins from large quantities of Caenorhabditis elegans oocytes. To examine how these proteins might be involved in early development, we prepared antibodies against some of them and determined their distribution in fixed embryos. Three of these proteins co-localize with different subsets of the embryonic actin cytoskeleton. One co-localizes with actin to all cell cortices. The second oscillates between the nucleus and cortex in a cell-cycle-dependent manner. The third is asymmetrically enriched at the anterior cortex of one-cell embryos, showing a temporal and spatial localization suggestive of a function in generating developmental asymmetry. We conclude that biochemistry is a feasible and useful approach in the study of early C. elegans development, and that the embryonic actin cytoskeleton is regulated in a complex fashion in order to carry out multiple, simultaneous functions.