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Dev Cell. 2005 Sep;9(3):415-22.

Regulatory mutations of mir-48, a C. elegans let-7 family MicroRNA, cause developmental timing defects.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 55455, USA.

Erratum in

  • Dev Cell. 2005 Nov;9(5):721.


The C. elegans heterochronic genes program stage-specific temporal identities in multiple tissues during larval development. These genes include the first two miRNA-encoding genes discovered, lin-4 and let-7. We show that lin-58 alleles, identified as lin-4 suppressors, define another miRNA that controls developmental time. These alleles are unique in that they contain point mutations in a gene regulatory element of mir-48, a let-7 family member. mir-48 is expressed prematurely in lin-58 mutants, whereas expression of mir-241, another let-7 family member residing immediately upstream of mir-48, appears to be unaffected. A mir-48 transgene bearing a lin-58 point mutation causes strong precocious phenotypes in the hypodermis and vulva when expressed from multicopy arrays. mir-48::gfp fusions reveal expression in these tissues, and inclusion of a lin-58 mutation causes precocious and enhanced gfp expression. These results suggest that lin-58 alleles disrupt a repressor binding site that restricts the time of miR-48 action in wild-type animals.

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