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Cell. 1995 Dec 15;83(6):889-901.

The C. elegans ksr-1 gene encodes a novel Raf-related kinase involved in Ras-mediated signal transduction.

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Department of Molecular, University of Colorado, Boulder 80309-0347, USA.


Vulval induction in C. elegans is controlled by a highly conserved signaling pathway similar to the RTK-Ras-MAPK cascade in mammals. By screening for suppressors of the Multivulva phenotype caused by an activated let-60 ras allele, we isolated mutations in a gene, ksr-1, that acts as a positive modifier of vulval induction and is required for at least two other let-60 ras-mediated processes. Although ksr-1 mutations do not perturb vulval induction in an otherwise wild-type background, they have very strong effects on vulval induction in genetic backgrounds where Ras pathway activity is constitutively activated or compromised, suggesting that ksr-1 activity is required for maximal stimulation of vulval fates by the Ras pathway. Genetic epistasis analysis suggests that ksr-1 acts downstream of or in parallel to let-60 ras. We cloned ksr-1 and have shown that it encodes a novel putative protein kinase related to the Raf family of Ser/Thr kinases.

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