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Mol Cell. 2000 Apr;5(4):659-69.

The lin-41 RBCC gene acts in the C. elegans heterochronic pathway between the let-7 regulatory RNA and the LIN-29 transcription factor.

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Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Null mutations in the C. elegans heterochronic gene lin-41 cause precocious expression of adult fates at larval stages. Increased lin-41 activity causes the opposite phenotype, reiteration of larval fates. let-7 mutations cause similar reiterated heterochronic phenotypes that are suppressed by lin-41 mutations, showing that lin-41 is negatively regulated by let-7. lin-41 negatively regulates the timing of LIN-29 adult specification transcription factor expression. lin-41 encodes an RBCC protein, and two elements in the lin-413'UTR are complementary to the 21 nucleotide let-7 regulatory RNA. A lin-41::GFP fusion gene is downregulated in the tissues affected by lin-41 at the time that the let-7 regulatory RNA is upregulated. We suggest that late larval activation of let-7 RNA expression downregulates LIN-41 to relieve inhibition of lin-29.

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