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J Cell Biol. 2007 Aug 13;178(4):661-73.

Barrier to autointegration factor blocks premature cell fusion and maintains adult muscle integrity in C. elegans.

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Department of Genetics, The Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.


Barrier to autointegration factor (BAF) binds double-stranded DNA, selected histones, transcription regulators, lamins, and LAP2-emerin-MAN1 (LEM) domain proteins. During early Caenorhabditis elegans embryogenesis, BAF-1 is required to organize chromatin, capture segregated chromosomes within the nascent nuclear envelope, and assemble lamin and LEM domain proteins in reforming nuclei. In this study, we used C. elegans with a homozygous deletion of the baf-1 gene, which survives embryogenesis and larval stages, to report that BAF-1 regulates maturation and survival of the germline, cell migration, vulva formation, and the timing of seam cell fusion. In the seam cells, BAF-1 represses the expression of the EFF-1 fusogen protein, but fusion still occurs in C. elegans lacking both baf-1 and eff-1. This suggests the existence of an eff-1-independent mechanism for cell fusion. BAF-1 is also required to maintain the integrity of specific body wall muscles in adult animals, directly implicating BAF in the mechanism of human muscular dystrophies (laminopathies) caused by mutations in the BAF-binding proteins emerin and lamin A.

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