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J Mol Biol. 1984 Mar 25;174(1):1-18.

Cloning of a yolk protein gene family from Caenorhabditis elegans.


We have cloned a family of five genes which encode the 170,000 Mr yolk proteins in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The genes and their messenger RNAs are about 5 X 10(3) base-pairs in length. Thus most of the length of each gene is exon, although a few small introns have been discovered. Based on hybridization and restriction mapping experiments, the genes can be subdivided into two subfamilies: YP1-YP2 and YP3-YP4-YP5. Within a subfamily the genes are nearly identical. While most of the genes are not clustered, YP3 and YP4 are tandemly linked. Hybrid-arrest translation experiments demonstrate that the YP3-YP4-YP5 subfamily encodes the yp170A yolk protein, while the YP1-YP2 subfamily encodes the yp170B yolk protein. RNAs homologous to these genes are abundant in the adult hermaphrodite, but missing from larvae and males. Furthermore, RNA isolated from dissected intestines is highly enriched for sequences that hybridize to the genes, whereas RNA from gonad or body wall is nearly devoid of these sequences. Thus, this gene family is apparently expressed only in the intestine of the adult hermaphrodite.

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