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Development. 2005 Dec;132(24):5451-60. Epub 2005 Nov 16.

A novel C. elegans zinc finger transcription factor, lsy-2, required for the cell type-specific expression of the lsy-6 microRNA.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University Medical Center, 701 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

The two Caenorhabditis elegans gustatory neurons, ASE left (ASEL) and ASE right (ASER) are morphologically bilaterally symmetric, yet left/right asymmetric in function and in the expression of specific chemosensory signaling molecules. The ASEL versus ASER cell-fate decision is controlled by a complex gene regulatory network composed of microRNAs (miRNAs) and transcription factors. Alterations in the activities of each of these regulatory factors cause a complete lateral cell-fate switch. Here, we describe lsy-2, a novel C2H2 zinc finger transcription factor that is required for the execution of the ASEL stable state. In lsy-2 null mutants, the ASEL neuron adopts the complete ASER gene expression profile, including both upstream regulatory and terminal effector genes. The normally left/right asymmetric ASE neurons are therefore ;symmetrized' in lsy-2 mutants. Cell-specific rescue experiments indicate that lsy-2 is required autonomously in ASEL for the activation of ASEL-specifying factors and the repression of ASER-specifying factors. Genetic epistasis experiments demonstrate that lsy-2 exerts its activity by regulating the transcription of the lsy-6 miRNA in the ASEL neuron, thereby making lsy-2 one of the few factors known to control the cell-type specificity of miRNA gene expression.

PMID:
16291785
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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