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Genes Dev. 1997 Jul 1;11(13):1651-61.

ELT-1, a GATA-like transcription factor, is required for epidermal cell fates in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos.

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  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.


Epidermal cells are generated during Caenorhabditis elegans embryogenesis by several distinct lineage patterns. These patterns are controlled by maternal genes that determine the identities of early embryonic blastomeres. We show that the embryonically expressed gene elt-1, which was shown previously to encode a GATA-like transcription factor, is required for the production of epidermal cells by each of these lineages. Depending on their lineage history, cells that become epidermal in wild-type embryos become either neurons or muscle cells in elt-1 mutant embryos. The ELT-1 protein is expressed in epidermal cells and in their precursors. We propose that elt-1 functions at an early step in the specification of epidermal cell fates.

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