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Dev Biol. 2006 Jan 15;289(2):456-65. Epub 2005 Nov 28.

The bZip proteins CES-2 and ATF-2 alter the timing of transcription for a cell-specific target gene in C. elegans.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Ohio State University, 938 Biological Sciences Building, 484 West 12th Avenue, Columbus, 43210, USA.


The Caenorhabditis elegans basic leucine zipper (bZip) protein CES-2 regulates the transcription of different genes in different cells. Here, we show that CES-2 mediates its effects in one cell (the excretory duct cell) together with another bZip protein, ATF-2. Both proteins influence transactivation of a target gene, lin-48. Although lin-48 is required for both anatomical and physiological features of the excretory duct cell, ces-2 and atf-2 mutants only exhibit anatomical defects. We show that CES-2 and ATF-2 modify the temporal transcription of lin-48, acting to initiate embryonic expression required for normal excretory system development and anatomy. In contrast, CES-2 and ATF-2 do not influence post-embryonic lin-48 expression. We provide evidence that CES-2 and ATF-2 can interact with each other, and that they cooperate to form a complex on lin-48 regulatory sequences. Thus, the two bZip proteins function together as one of several inputs that influence the spatial and temporal regulation of lin-48.

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