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Dev Cell. 2004 Nov;7(5):697-707.

FBF-1 and FBF-2 regulate the size of the mitotic region in the C. elegans germline.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


In the C. elegans germline, GLP-1/Notch signaling and two nearly identical RNA binding proteins, FBF-1 and FBF-2, promote proliferation. Here, we show that the fbf-1 and fbf-2 genes are largely redundant for promoting mitosis but that they have opposite roles in fine-tuning the size of the mitotic region. The mitotic region is smaller than normal in fbf-1 mutants but larger than normal in fbf-2 mutants. Consistent with gene-specific roles, fbf-2 expression is limited to the distal germline, while fbf-1 expression is broader. The fbf-2 gene, but apparently not fbf-1, is controlled by GLP-1/Notch signaling, and the abundance of FBF-1 and FBF-2 proteins is limited by reciprocal 3'UTR repression. We propose that the divergent fbf genes and their regulatory subnetwork enable a precise control over size of the mitotic region. Therefore, fbf-1 and fbf-2 provide a paradigm for how recently duplicated genes can diverge to fine-tune patterning during animal development.

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