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Dev Biol. 2008 Jun 15;318(2):268-75. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.03.026. Epub 2008 Mar 28.

Different isoforms of the C. elegans FGF receptor are required for attraction and repulsion of the migrating sex myoblasts.

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Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, I-354 SHM P.O. Box 208005, New Haven, CT 06520-8005, USA.


The Caenorhabditis elegans FGF receptor, EGL-15, is alternatively-spliced to yield two major isoforms that differ in their extracellular domains. The EGL-15(5A) isoform is necessary for the gonadal chemoattraction of the migrating sex myoblasts (SMs), while the EGL-15(5B) isoform is required for viability. Here we show that 5A is predominantly expressed in the M lineage, which gives rise to the migrating SMs and their sex muscle descendants, while 5B is predominantly expressed in the hypodermis. Tissue-specific expression, however, explains only part of the functional differences between these two receptor isoforms. 5A can carry out the reciprocal essential function of 5B when expressed in the hypodermis, but 5B is incapable of carrying out SM chemoattraction. Our data, therefore, indicate that the structural differences in these two isoforms contribute to their functional differences. Two lines of evidence indicate that the 5B isoform also plays a role in SM migration, implicating it in the repulsion that is observed when the chemoattraction is compromised. Thus, structural differences in the extracellular domains of these two isoforms can specify either attraction to or repulsion from the gonad.

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