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EMBO J. 2006 Dec 13;25(24):5794-804. Epub 2006 Nov 30.

Multiple mechanisms are involved in regulating the expression of the developmental timing regulator lin-28 in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.


The timing of postembryonic developmental programs in Caenorhabditis elegans is regulated by a set of so-called heterochronic genes, including lin-28 that specifies second larval programs. lin-66 mutations described herein cause delays in vulval and seam cell differentiation, indicating a role for lin-66 in timing regulation. A mutation in daf-12/nuclear receptor or alg-1/argonaute dramatically enhances the retarded phenotypes of the lin-66 mutants, and these phenotypes are suppressed by a lin-28 null allele. We further show that the LIN-28 protein level is upregulated in the lin-66 mutants and that this regulation is mediated by the 3'UTR of lin-28. We have also identified a potential daf-12-response element within lin-28 3'UTR and show that two microRNA (miRNA) (lin-4 and let-7)-binding sites mediate redundant inhibitory activities that are likely lin-66-independent. Quantitative PCR data suggest that the lin-28 mRNA level is affected by lin-14 and miRNA regulation, but not by daf-12 and lin-66 regulation. These results suggest that lin-28 expression is regulated by multiple independent mechanisms including LIN-14-mediated upregulation of mRNA level, miRNAs-mediated RNA degradation, LIN-66-mediated translational inhibition and DAF-12-involved translation promotion.

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