The Caenorhabditis elegans heterochronic gene pathway controls stage-specific transcription of collagen genes

Z. Liu, Susan Kirch, V. Ambros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In Caenorhabditis elegans, the terminal differentiation of the hypodermal cells occurs at the larval-to-adult molt, and is characterized in part by the formation of a morphologically distinct adult cuticle. The timing of this event is controlled by a pathway of heterochronic genes that includes the relatively direct regulatory gene, lin-29, and upstream genes lin-4, lin-14 and lin-28. Using northern analysis to detect endogenous collagen mRNA levels and collagen/lacZ reporter constructs to monitor collagen transcriptional activity, we show that the stage-specific switch from larval cuticle to adult cuticle correlates with the transcriptional activation of adult-specific collagen genes and repression of larval-specific collagen genes. Heterochronic mutations that cause precocious formation of adult cuticle also cause precocious transcription of the adult-specific collagen genes, col-7 and col-19; heterochronic mutations that prevent the switch to adult cuticle cause continued expression of the larval collagen gene, col-17 in adults and prevent adult-specific activation of col-7 or col-19. A 235 bp segment of col-19 5' sequences is sufficient to direct the adult-specific expression of a col-19/lacZ reporter gene in hypodermal cells. These findings indicate that the heterochronic gene pathway regulates the timing of hypodermal cell terminal differentiation by regulating larval- and adult-specific gene expression, perhaps by the direct action of lin-29.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2471-2478
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopment
Volume121
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1995

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Caenorhabditis elegans
Collagen
Genes
Cell Differentiation
Mutation
Lac Operon
Regulator Genes
Reporter Genes
Transcriptional Activation
Gene Expression
Messenger RNA

Keywords

  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Collagen
  • Heterochronic
  • lin-29

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Anatomy

Cite this

The Caenorhabditis elegans heterochronic gene pathway controls stage-specific transcription of collagen genes. / Liu, Z.; Kirch, Susan; Ambros, V.

In: Development, Vol. 121, No. 8, 1995, p. 2471-2478.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Liu, Z. ; Kirch, Susan ; Ambros, V. / The Caenorhabditis elegans heterochronic gene pathway controls stage-specific transcription of collagen genes. In: Development. 1995 ; Vol. 121, No. 8. pp. 2471-2478.
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