UMMS Affiliation

Program in Gene Function and Expression; Program in Molecular Medicine

Date

2-7-2002

Document Type

Article

Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Caenorhabditis elegans; Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins; Cell Cycle Proteins; *Cell Polarity; Drug Combinations; Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental; Genes, Helminth; Helminth Proteins; *Homeodomain Proteins; Oils; Phenols; Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases; RNA-Binding Proteins; *Trans-Activators

Disciplines

Genetics and Genomics

Abstract

The KH domain protein MEX-3 is central to the temporal and spatial control of PAL-1 expression in the C. elegans early embryo. PAL-1 is a Caudal-like homeodomain protein that is required to specify the fate of posterior blastomeres. While pal-1 mRNA is present throughout the oocyte and early embryo, PAL-1 protein is expressed only in posterior blastomeres, starting at the four-cell stage. To better understand how PAL-1 expression is regulated temporally and spatially, we have identified MEX-3 interacting proteins (MIPs) and characterized in detail two that are required for the patterning of PAL-1 expression. RNA interference of MEX-6, a CCCH zinc-finger protein, or SPN-4, an RNA recognition motif protein, causes PAL-1 to be expressed in all four blastomeres starting at the four-cell stage. Genetic analysis of the interactions between these mip genes and the par genes, which provide polarity information in the early embryo, defines convergent genetic pathways that regulate MEX-3 stability and activity to control the spatial pattern of PAL-1 expression. These experiments suggest that par-1 and par-4 affect distinct processes. par-1 is required for many aspects of embryonic polarity, including the restriction of MEX-3 and MEX-6 activity to the anterior blastomeres. We find that PAL-1 is not expressed in par-1 mutants, because MEX-3 and MEX-6 remain active in the posterior blastomeres. The role of par-4 is less well understood. Our analysis suggests that par-4 is required to inactivate MEX-3 at the four-cell stage. Thus, PAL-1 is not expressed in par-4 mutants because MEX-3 remains active in all blastomeres. We propose that MEX-6 and SPN-4 act with MEX-3 to translate the temporal and spatial information provided by the early acting par genes into the asymmetric expression of the cell fate determinant PAL-1.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Development. 2002 Feb;129(3):747-59. Link to article on publisher's site

Comments

At the time of publication, Albertha J. Marian Walhout was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID

11830574

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.