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Dev Genes Evol. 2000 Nov;210(11):564-9.

Graded expression of ceh-14 reporters in the hypodermis is induced by a gonadal signal.

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Abt. Zellbiologie, Biozentrum der Universit├Ąt Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.


ceh-14, a LIM class homeobox gene from Caenorhabditis elegans, is the orthologue of the vertebrate Lhx3/Lhx4 genes. ceh-14 reporter constructs are expressed in several different cell types: head and tail neurons, spermatheca and hypodermis. An intriguing aspect of the hypodermal expression pattern is that it takes the form of a gradient which is strongest in the central body region in L4 to young adult hermaphrodites. Promoter deletion analyses revealed that important regulatory elements for hypodermal expression are located within the transcribed region of ceh-14. Since a large part of the hypodermis is a syncytium, we hypothesized that this expression is triggered in a non-cell-autonomous fashion, a possible source being the underlying gonad. In males, which have a different gonadal organisation, the ceh-14 reporter constructs are expressed in a gradient that is strongest in the tail. By laser ablation of the gonadal precursor cells we found that ceh-14 reporter construct expression is eliminated in the hermaphrodite hypodermis, suggesting that the gonad plays a role in the generation of the gradient. Several signaling pathways are known in the gonad and the vulva, thus we crossed the mutations lin-3, egl-17 and lin-12 with the ceh-14 reporter lines. However, the expression of the reporter constructs is not affected in these mutant backgrounds. This suggests that another, presently unknown, signal triggers the graded hypodermal expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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