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Dev Biol. 2007 Feb 1;302(1):295-308. Epub 2006 Sep 26.

Gland-specific expression of C. elegans hlh-6 requires the combinatorial action of three distinct promoter elements.

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1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.

Abstract

The pharyngeal glands of Caenorhabditis elegans are one of five cell types in the pharynx. The transcription factor HLH-6 is required for gland development and function, and is specifically expressed in pharyngeal glands. As a first step to understanding specification of pharyngeal glands, we analyzed the promoter of hlh-6 to identify the elements required for gland-specific expression. Our experiments identified three distinct regulatory elements required for hlh-6 expression: a PHA-4-binding site and two new elements, HRL1 and HRL2 (for hlh-6 regulatory elements 1 and 2). The three elements employ a simple logic for producing cell-type-specific expression: the PHA-4 site restricts expression to the pharynx, HRL2 restricts expression in both a position and lineage-dependent manner, and HRL1 restricts expression to a subset of cell types. In isolation, these three elements have little or no enhancer activity but in combination they produce robust, gland-specific expression. These findings describe a combinatorial code for gland-specific expression and suggest that similar codes may be employed for specification of other pharyngeal cell types.

PMID:
17049341
DOI:
10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.09.036
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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