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Mol Cell. 2001 Mar;7(3):451-60.

The C. elegans E2F- and DP-related proteins are required for embryonic asymmetry and negatively regulate Ras/MAPK signaling.

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Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.


Early C. elegans embryos exhibit protein asymmetries that allow rapid diversification of cells. Establishing these asymmetries requires the novel protein MEX-5. We show that mutations in the efl-1 and dpl-1 genes cause defects in protein localization resembling defects caused by mutations in mex-5. efl-1 and dpl-1 encode homologs of vertebrate E2F and DP proteins that regulate transcription as a heterodimer. efl-1 and dpl-1 mutants have elevated levels of activated Map kinase in oocytes. Their mutant phenotype and that of mex-5 mutants can be suppressed by reducing Ras/Map kinase signaling. We propose this signaling pathway has a role in embryonic asymmetry and that EFL-1/DPL-1 control the level of Map kinase activation.

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