Identification and characterization of genes that interact with lin-12 in Caenorhabditis elegans

Frans E. Tax, James H. Thomas, Edwin L. Ferguson, H. Robert Horvitz

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Abstract

We identified and characterized 14 extragenic mutations that suppressed the dominant egg-laying defect of certain lin-12 gain-of-function mutations. These suppressors defined seven genes: sup-17, lag-2, sel-4, sel-5, sel-6, sel-7 and sel-8. Mutations in six of the genes are recessive suppressors, whereas the two mutations that define the seventh gene, lag-2, are semi- dominant suppressors. These suppressor mutations were able to suppress other lin-12 gain-of-function mutations. The suppressor mutations arose at a very low frequency per gene, 10-50 times below the typical loss-of-function mutation frequency. The suppressor mutations in sup-17 and lag-2 were shown to be rare non-null alleles, and we present evidence that null mutations in these two genes cause lethality. Temperature-shift studies for two suppressor genes, sup-17 and lag-2, suggest that both genes act at approximately the same time as lin-12 in specifying a cell fate. Suppressor alleles of six of these genes enhanced a temperature-sensitive loss-of-function allele of glp- 1, a gene related to lin-12 in structure and function. Our analysis of these suppressors suggests that the majority of these genes are part of a shared lin-12/glp-1 signal transduction pathway, or act to regulate the expression or stability of lin-12 and glp-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1675-1695
Number of pages21
JournalGenetics
Volume147
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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Tax, F. E., Thomas, J. H., Ferguson, E. L., & Horvitz, H. R. (1997). Identification and characterization of genes that interact with lin-12 in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics, 147(4), 1675-1695.