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Genetics. 1998 Jan;148(1):187-200.

Analysis of osm-6, a gene that affects sensory cilium structure and sensory neuron function in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Department of Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, 55108, USA.


Mutation in the Caenorhabditis elegans gene osm-6 was previously shown to result in defects in the ultrastructure of sensory cilia and defects in chemosensory and mechanosensory behaviors. We have cloned osm-6 by transposon tagging and transformation rescue and have identified molecular lesions associated with five osm-6 mutations. The osm-6 gene encodes a protein that is 40% identical in amino acid sequence to a predicted mammalian protein of unknown function. We fused osm-6 with the gene for green fluorescent protein (GFP); the fusion gene rescued the osm-6 mutant phenotype and showed accumulation of GFP in ciliated sensory neurons exclusively. The OSM-6::GFP protein was localized to cytoplasm, including processes and dendritic endings where sensory cilia are situated. Mutations in other genes known to cause ciliary defects led to changes in the appearance of OSM-6::GFP in dendritic endings or, in the case of daf-19, reduced OSM-6::GFP accumulation. We conclude from an analysis of genetic mosaics that osm-6 acts cell autonomously in affecting cilium structure.

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