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Cell. 1997 Mar 7;88(5):637-46.

The cold shock domain protein LIN-28 controls developmental timing in C. elegans and is regulated by the lin-4 RNA.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA.


Mutations in the heterochronic gene lin-28 of C. elegans cause precocious development where diverse events specific to the second larval stage are skipped. lin-28 encodes a cytoplasmic protein with a cold shock domain and retroviral-type (CCHC) zinc finger motifs, consistent with a role for LIN-28 in posttranscriptional regulation. The 3'UTR of lin-28 contains a conserved element that is complementary to the 22 nt regulatory RNA product of lin-4 and that resembles seven such elements in the 3'UTR of the heterochronic gene lin-14. Both lin-4 activity and the lin-4-complementary element (LCE) are necessary for stage-specific regulation of lin-28. Deleting the LCE produces a dominant gain-of-function allele that causes a retarded phenotype, indicating that lin-28 activity is a switch that controls choices of stage-specific fates.

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