The Caenorhabditis elegans homolog of human copper chaperone Atox1, CUC-1, aids in distal tip cell migration
Journal article, 2020

Cell migration is a fundamental biological process involved in for example embryonic development, immune system and wound healing. Cell migration is also a key step in cancer metastasis and the human copper chaperone Atox1 was recently found to facilitate this process in breast cancer cells. To explore the role of the copper chaperone in other cell migration processes, we here investigated the putative involvement of an Atox1 homolog in Caenorhabditis elegans, CUC-1, in distal tip cell migration, which is a key process during the development of the C. elegans gonad. Using knock-out worms, in which the cuc-1 gene was removed by CRISPR-Cas9 technology, we probed life span, brood size, as well as distal tip cell migration in the absence or presence of supplemented copper. Upon scoring of gonads, we found that cuc-1 knock-out, but not wild-type, worms exhibited distal tip cell migration defects in approximately 10–15% of animals and, had a significantly reduced brood size. Importantly, the distal tip cell migration defect was rescued by a wild-type cuc-1 transgene provided to cuc-1 knock-out worms. The results obtained here for C. elegans CUC-1 imply that Atox1 homologs, in addition to their well-known cytoplasmic copper transport, may contribute to developmental cell migration processes.

Caenorhabditis elegans

Distal tip cell migration


Cell migration

Copper transport



Xiaolu Zhang

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemical Biology

Stephanie Blockhuys

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemical Biology

Ranjan Devkota

University of Gothenburg

Marc Pilon

University of Gothenburg

Pernilla Wittung Stafshede

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemical Biology


0966-0844 (ISSN) 1572-8773 (eISSN)

Vol. 33 2-3 147-157

Subject Categories

Cell Biology

Cell and Molecular Biology

Medical Biotechnology (with a focus on Cell Biology (including Stem Cell Biology), Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry or Biopharmacy)





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8/4/2020 1