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Development. 1997 May;124(10):2063-73.

The C. elegans gene pag-3 is homologous to the zinc finger proto-oncogene gfi-1.

Author information

1
Louisiana State University Medical Center-Shreveport, 71130-3932, USA.

Abstract

Mutations in the Caenorhabditis elegans gene pag-3 result in misexpression of touch receptor-specific genes in the BDU interneurons and in motility defects. We cloned pag-3 and found that the gene encodes a C2H2-type zinc finger protein related to the mammalian GFI-1 protein. Sequencing of the three pag-3 alleles showed that two apparent null alleles encode a nonsense mutation before the zinc fingers and a missense mutation in the fourth zinc finger that changes a coordinating histidine to a tyrosine. The third allele contains a nonsense mutation in the N-terminal region but is not a null allele. Northern analysis showed that a single pag-3 transcript of about 1.6 kb is present in embryos and L1, L2 and L3 larvae. pag-3 message levels were about twofold higher in pag-3 mutants than in wild-type animals, which suggested that pag-3 may negatively regulate its own expression. pag-3lacZ fusion genes were expressed in the BDU interneurons, the touch neurons, 11 VA and 11 VB ventral cord motor neurons, two AVF interneurons and in unidentified neurons of the retrovesicular ganglion. The BDU neurons and the ALM touch neurons are lineal sister cells in the AB.a lineage and the VA and VB motor neurons are lineal sister cells in the AB.p lineage. The VA motor neurons are required for backward movement and the VB motor neurons are required for forward movement. Mosaic analysis showed that the wild-type pag-3 gene is required in the AB.p lineage for coordinated movement and in the AB.a lineage to suppress touch neuron gene expression in the BDU neurons. Because pag-3 is expressed in both the BDU neurons and in the touch neurons, another protein(s) not expressed in the touch neurons may interact with pag-3 to repress touch neuron gene expression in the BDU neurons. Alternatively, another protein in the touch receptor cells may inactivate PAG-3 and allow expression of the touch receptor program. These results show that pag-3 is a temporally regulated gene that is expressed early in development and functions in multiple types of neurons. They also strongly suggest that the PAG3 protein is a DNA-binding protein with properties similar to the mammalian proto-oncogene product GFI-1.

PMID:
9169852
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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