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Development. 1999 Dec;126(23):5387-98.

Control of DAF-7 TGF-(alpha) expression and neuronal process development by a receptor tyrosine kinase KIN-8 in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Biology, Graduate School of Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


KIN-8 in C. elegans is highly homologous to human ROR-1 and 2 receptor tyrosine kinases of unknown functions. These kinases belong to a new subfamily related to the Trk subfamily. A kin-8 promoter::gfp fusion gene was expressed in ASI and many other neurons as well as in pharyngeal and head muscles. A kin-8 deletion mutant was isolated and showed constitutive dauer larva formation (Daf-c) phenotype: about half of the F(1) progeny became dauer larvae when they were cultivated on an old lawn of E. coli as food. Among the cells expressing kin-8::gfp, only ASI sensory neurons are known to express DAF-7 TGF-(beta), a key molecule preventing dauer larva formation. In the kin-8 deletion mutant, expression of daf-7::gfp in ASI was greatly reduced, dye-filling in ASI was specifically lost and ASI sensory processes did not completely extend into the amphid pore. The Daf-c phenotype was suppressed by daf-7 cDNA expression or a daf-3 null mutation. ASI-directed expression of kin-8 cDNA under the daf-7 promoter or expression by a heat shock promoter rescued the dye-filling defect, but not the Daf-c phenotype, of the kin-8 mutant. These results show that the kin-8 mutation causes the Daf-c phenotype through reduction of the daf-7 gene expression and that KIN-8 function is cell-autonomous for the dye-filling in ASI. KIN-8 is required for the process development of ASI, and also involved in promotion of daf-7 expression through a physiological or developmental function.

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