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Cell. 1988 Sep 23;54(7):1019-31.

mab-3, a gene required for sex-specific yolk protein expression and a male-specific lineage in C. elegans.

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  • 1MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England.


The gene mab-3 appears to regulate a subset of sex-specific events in C. elegans male development. Mutations in mab-3 have no apparent effect on hermaphrodites, but cause synthesis of yolk proteins and a limited lineage alteration in males. We infer that mab-3 has at least two distinct male-specific functions. First, mab-3 activity prevents yolk protein production by males, without affecting stage or tissue specificity of expression. Second, mab-3 activity is required for expression of the male V ray cell lineage. Epistasis analysis is most consistent with a model in which mab-3 is controlled by tra-1, the last switch gene known to act in the somatic sex determination pathway. We discuss how genes such as mab-3 might generate sexual dimorphism.

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