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Development. 2006 Jan;133(2):287-95. Epub 2005 Dec 14.

Chromosomal clustering and GATA transcriptional regulation of intestine-expressed genes in C. elegans.

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Department of Genetics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


We used mRNA tagging to identify genes expressed in the intestine of C. elegans. Animals expressing an epitope-tagged protein that binds the poly-A tail of mRNAs (FLAG::PAB-1) from an intestine-specific promoter (ges-1) were used to immunoprecipitate FLAG::PAB-1/mRNA complexes from the intestine. A total of 1938 intestine-expressed genes (P<0.001) were identified using DNA microarrays. First, we compared the intestine-expressed genes with those expressed in the muscle and germline, and identified 510 genes enriched in all three tissues and 624 intestine-, 230 muscle- and 1135 germ line-enriched genes. Second, we showed that the 1938 intestine-expressed genes were physically clustered on the chromosomes, suggesting that the order of genes in the genome is influenced by the effect of chromatin domains on gene expression. Furthermore, the commonly expressed genes showed more chromosomal clustering than the tissue-enriched genes, suggesting that chromatin domains may influence housekeeping genes more than tissue-specific genes. Third, in order to gain further insight into the regulation of intestinal gene expression, we searched for regulatory motifs. This analysis found that the promoters of the intestine genes were enriched for the GATA transcription factor consensus binding sequence. We experimentally verified these results by showing that the GATA motif is required in cis and that GATA transcription factors are required in trans for expression of these intestinal genes.

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