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Genetics. 1993 Aug;134(4):1105-17.

Evidence for parallel processing of sensory information controlling dauer formation in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


Dauer formation in Caenorhabditis elegans is induced by chemosensation of high levels of a constitutively secreted pheromone. Seven genes defined by mutations that confer a dauer-formation constitutive phenotype (Daf-c) can be congruently divided into two groups by any of three criteria. Group 1 genes (daf-11 and daf-21) are (1) strongly synergistic with group 2 genes for their Daf-c phenotype, (2) incompletely suppressed by dauer-formation defective (Daf-d) mutations in the genes daf-3 and daf-5 and (3) strongly suppressed by Daf-d mutations in nine genes that affect the structure of chemosensory endings. Group 2 genes (daf-1, daf-4, daf-7, daf-8 and daf-14) are (1) strongly synergistic with group 1 genes for their Daf-c phenotype, (2) fully suppressed by Daf-d mutations in daf-3 and daf-5 and (3) not suppressed by Daf-d mutations in the nine genes that affect chemosensory ending structure. Mutations in each group of genes also cause distinct additional behavioral defects. We propose that these two groups of Daf-c genes act in parallel pathways that process sensory information. The two pathways are partially redundant with each other and normally act in concert to control dauer formation.

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