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Science. 1996 Nov 22;274(5291):1389-91.

Control of C. elegans larval development by neuronal expression of a TGF-beta homolog.

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  • 1Molecular Biology Program and Division of Biological Sciences, 311 Tucker Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA. riddle@biosci.mbp.missouri.edu


The Caenorhabditis elegans dauer larva is specialized for dispersal without growth and is formed under conditions of overcrowding and limited food. The daf-7 gene, required for transducing environmental cues that support continuous development with plentiful food, encodes a transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily member. A daf-7 reporter construct is expressed in the ASI chemosensory neurons. Dauer-inducing pheromone inhibits daf-7 expression and promotes dauer formation, whereas food reactivates daf-7 expression and promotes recovery from the dauer state. When the food/pheromone ratio is high, the level of daf-7 mRNA peaks during the L1 larval stage, when commitment to non-dauer development is made.

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