Program in Systems Biololgy; Program in Gene Function and Expression; Program in Molecular Medicine
Medical Subject Headings
Caenorhabditis elegans; Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins; Insulin; Gene Expression
Genetics and Genomics | Systems Biology
Gene families expand by gene duplication and resulting paralogs diverge through mutation. Functional diversification can include neo-functionalization as well as sub-functionalization of ancestral functions. In addition, redundancy in which multiple genes fulfill overlapping functions is often maintained. Here, we use the family of 40 Caenorhabditis elegans insulins to gain insight into the balance between specificity and redundancy. The insulin/insulin-like growth factor (IIS) pathway comprises a single receptor, DAF-2. To date, no single insulin-like peptide recapitulates all DAF-2-associated phenotypes, likely due to redundancy between insulin-like genes. To provide a first-level annotation of potential patterns of redundancy, we comprehensively delineate the spatiotemporal and conditional expression of all 40 insulins in living animals. We observe extensive dynamics in expression that can explain the lack of simple patterns of pair-wise redundancy. We propose a model in which gene families evolve to attain differential alliances in different tissues and in response to a range of environmental stresses.
Ritter, Ashlyn D.; Shen, Yuan; Fuxman Bass, Juan; Jeyaraj, Sankarganesh; Deplancke, Bart; Mukhopadjay, Arnab; Xu, Jian; Driscoll, Monica; Tissenbaum, Heidi A.; and Walhout, Albertha J. M., "Complex expression dynamics and robustness in C. elegans insulin networks" (2013). Program in Systems Biology Publications and Presentations. 22.
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