Gene-centered regulatory network mapping
Program in Gene Function and Expression; Program in Molecular Medicine
Medical Subject Headings
Two-Hybrid System Techniques; High-Throughput Screening Assays; Gene Regulatory Networks; Protein Interaction Mapping; Transcription Factors; Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
Genetics and Genomics
The Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodite is a complex multicellular animal that is composed of 959 somatic cells. The C. elegans genome contains approximately 20,000 protein-coding genes, 940 of which encode regulatory transcription factors (TFs). In addition, the worm genome encodes more than 100 microRNAs and many other regulatory RNA and protein molecules. Most C. elegans genes are subject to regulatory control, most likely by multiple regulators, and combined, this dictates the activation or repression of the gene and corresponding protein in the relevant cells and under the appropriate conditions. A major goal in C. elegans research is to determine the spatiotemporal expression pattern of each gene throughout development and in response to different signals, and to determine how this expression pattern is accomplished. Gene regulatory networks describe physical and/or functional interactions between genes and their regulators that result in specific spatiotemporal gene expression. Such regulators can act at transcriptional or post-transcriptional levels. Here, I will discuss the methods that can be used to delineate gene regulatory networks in C. elegans. I will mostly focus on gene-centered yeast one-hybrid (Y1H) assays that are used to map interactions between non-coding genic regions, such as promoters, and regulatory TFs. The approaches discussed here are not only relevant to C. elegans biology, but can also be applied to other model organisms and humans.
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Citation: Methods Cell Biol. 2011;106:271-88. Link to article on publisher's site