Several genes that encode members of the cadherin superfamily have been identified in Caenorhabditis elegans. Based on the roles of cadherins in vertebrates and Drosophila, it is expected that they function in the control of epithelial morphogenesis, an event which is poorly understood at the molecular level in C. elegans. Reporter genes under the control of upstream sequences from one of these genes, cdh-3, are expressed in developing epithelial cells, but also in a number of neuroectodermal cells that extend processes along some of these epithelial cells. We generated a loss-of-function mutation in cdh-3 by transposon-mediated deletion mutagenesis. This mutation affects the morphogenesis of a single cell, hyp10, which forms the tip of the nematode tail. The lack of detectable defects associated with the other cells expressing cdh-3 reporter constructs hints at the existence of other genes that can compensate for cdh-3 loss of function.

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