GSBS Student Publications


MEP-1 and a homolog of the NURD complex component Mi-2 act together to maintain germline-soma distinctions in C. elegans

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Program in Molecular Medicine



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

*Adenosine Triphosphatases; Animals; Autoantigens; Caenorhabditis elegans; Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins; Cell Differentiation; Cell Lineage; *DNA Helicases; Embryo, Nonmammalian; Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental; Germ Cells; Histone Deacetylases; Nuclear Proteins; Transcription Factors


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


A rapid cascade of regulatory events defines the developmental fates of embryonic cells. However, once established, these developmental fates and the underlying transcriptional programs can be remarkably stable. Here, we describe two proteins, MEP-1 and LET-418/Mi-2, required for maintenance of somatic differentiation in C. elegans. In animals lacking MEP-1 and LET-418, germline-specific genes become derepressed in somatic cells, and Polycomb group (PcG) and SET domain-related proteins promote this ectopic expression. MEP-1 and LET-418 interact in vivo with the germline-protein PIE-1. Our findings support a model in which PIE-1 inhibits MEP-1 and associated factors to maintain the pluripotency of germ cells, while at later times MEP-1 and LET-418 remodel chromatin to establish new stage- or cell-type-specific differentiation potential.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Cell. 2002 Dec 27;111(7):991-1002.

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