Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Cell. 2007 Jul;13(1):127-39.

A CUL-2 ubiquitin ligase containing three FEM proteins degrades TRA-1 to regulate C. elegans sex determination.

Author information

Department of Cellular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.


In Caenorhabditis elegans, the Gli-family transcription factor TRA-1 is the terminal effector of the sex-determination pathway. TRA-1 activity inhibits male development and allows female fates. Genetic studies have indicated that TRA-1 is negatively regulated by the fem-1, fem-2, and fem-3 genes. However, the mechanism of this regulation has not been understood. Here, we present data that TRA-1 is regulated by degradation mediated by a CUL-2-based ubiquitin ligase complex that contains FEM-1 as the substrate-recognition subunit, and FEM-2 and FEM-3 as cofactors. CUL-2 physically associates with both FEM-1 and TRA-1 in vivo, and cul-2 mutant males share feminization phenotypes with fem mutants. CUL-2 and the FEM proteins negatively regulate TRA-1 protein levels in C. elegans. When expressed in human cells, the FEM proteins interact with human CUL2 and induce the proteasome-dependent degradation of TRA-1. This work demonstrates that the terminal step in C. elegans sex determination is controlled by ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center