Transforming a spheroid nematode embryo into a worm shape begins with the embryo being enclosed by the epidermis through concerted epithelial cell movements. Modulation of cell adhesion is important in this process, as in all morphogenesis. On p. 3185, Putzke and co-workers report that embryonic closure in C. elegans requires Fer-related kinase-1 (FRK-1), an orthologue of the mammalian non-receptor tyrosine kinase Fer, which mediates epithelial cell adhesion. Unexpectedly, the kinase activity of FRK-1 is not required for enclosure, suggesting that FRK-1 has a non-enzymatic role during morphogenesis. The researchers also show that β-catenin andβ-integrin are required for normal FRK-1 localization to the plasma membrane, and report that truncated mouse Fer rescues the morphogenetic defects of frk-1 mutant worms, while expression of FRK-1 in mammalian cells reduces cell adhesion. Thus, the researchers suggest, Fer-like proteins may play an evolutionarily conserved role in epithelial morphogenesis.