Regulation of body length and male tail ray pattern formation of Caenorhabditis elegans by a member of TGF-beta family. (1/5831)

We have identified a new member of the TGF-beta superfamily, CET-1, from Caenorhabditis elegans, which is expressed in the ventral nerve cord and other neurons. cet-1 null mutants have shortened bodies and male tail abnormal phenotype resembling sma mutants, suggesting cet-1, sma-2, sma-3 and sma-4 share a common pathway. Overexpression experiments demonstrated that cet-1 function requires wild-type sma genes. Interestingly, CET-1 appears to affect body length in a dose-dependent manner. Heterozygotes for cet-1 displayed body lengths ranging between null mutant and wild type, and overexpression of CET-1 in wild-type worms elongated body length close to lon mutants. In male sensory ray patterning, lack of cet-1 function results in ray fusions. Epistasis analysis revealed that mab-21 lies downstream and is negatively regulated by the cet-1/sma pathway in the male tail. Our results show that cet-1 controls diverse biological processes during C. elegans development probably through different target genes.  (+info)

Alzheimer's disease: clues from flies and worms. (2/5831)

Presenilin mutations give rise to familial Alzheimer's disease and result in elevated production of amyloid beta peptide. Recent evidence that presenilins act in developmental signalling pathways may be the key to understanding how senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles and apoptosis are all biochemically linked.  (+info)

The Caenorhabditis elegans sex determination gene mog-1 encodes a member of the DEAH-Box protein family. (3/5831)

In the Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodite germ line, the sex-determining gene fem-3 is repressed posttranscriptionally to arrest spermatogenesis and permit oogenesis. This repression requires a cis-acting regulatory element in the fem-3 3' untranslated region; the FBF protein, which binds to this element; and at least six mog genes. In this paper, we report the molecular characterization of mog-1 as well as additional phenotypic characterization of this gene. The mog-1 gene encodes a member of the DEAH-box family. Three mog-1 alleles possess premature stop codons and are likely to be null alleles, and one is a missense mutation and is likely to retain residual activity. mog-1 mRNA is expressed in both germ line and somatic tissues and appears to be ubiquitous. The MOG-1 DEAH-box protein is most closely related to proteins essential for splicing in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but splicing appears to occur normally in a mog-1-null mutant. In addition to its involvement in the sperm-oocyte switch and control of fem-3, zygotic mog-1 is required for robust germ line proliferation and for normal growth during development. We suggest that mog-1 plays a broader role in RNA regulation than previously considered.  (+info)

Characterization of a Caenorhabditis elegans recA-like gene Ce-rdh-1 involved in meiotic recombination. (4/5831)

A recA-like gene was identified in the Caenorhabditis elegans genome project database. The putative product of the gene, termed Ce-rdh-1 (C. elegans RAD51 and DMC1/LIM15 homolog 1), consists of 357 amino acid residues. The predicted amino acid sequence of Ce-rdh-1 showed 46-60% identity to both RAD51 type and DMC1/LIM15 type genes in several eukaryote species. The results of RNAi (RNA-mediated interference) indicated that repression of Ce-rdh-1 blocked chromosome condensation of six bivalents and dissociation of chiasmata in oocytes of F1 progeny. Oogenesis did not proceed to the diakinesis stage. Accordingly, all the eggs produced (F2) died in early stages. These results suggest that Ce-rdh-1 participates in meiotic recombination.  (+info)

The Caenorhabditis elegans gene ham-2 links Hox patterning to migration of the HSN motor neuron. (5/5831)

The Caenorhabditis elegans HSN motor neurons permit genetic analysis of neuronal development at single-cell resolution. The egl-5 Hox gene, which patterns the posterior of the embryo, is required for both early (embryonic) and late (larval) development of the HSN. Here we show that ham-2 encodes a zinc finger protein that acts downstream of egl-5 to direct HSN cell migration, an early differentiation event. We also demonstrate that the EGL-43 zinc finger protein, also required for HSN migration, is expressed in the HSN specifically during its migration. In an egl-5 mutant background, the HSN still expresses EGL-43, but expression is no longer down-regulated at the end of the cell's migration. Finally, we find a new role in early HSN differentiation for UNC-86, a POU homeodomain transcription factor shown previously to act downstream of egl-5 in the regulation of late HSN differentiation. In an unc-86; ham-2 double mutant the HSNs are defective in EGL-43 down-regulation, an egl-5-like phenotype that is absent in either single mutant. Thus, in the HSN, a Hox gene, egl-5, regulates cell fate by activating the transcription of genes encoding the transcription factors HAM-2 and UNC-86 that in turn individually control some differentiation events and combinatorially affect others.  (+info)

Patterning of Caenorhabditis elegans posterior structures by the Abdominal-B homolog, egl-5. (6/5831)

The Caenorhabditis elegans body axis, like that of other animals, is patterned by the action of Hox genes. In order to examine the function of one C. elegans Hox gene in depth, we determined the postembryonic expression pattern of egl-5, the C. elegans member of the Abdominal-B Hox gene paralog group, by means of whole-mount staining with a polyclonal antibody. A major site of egl-5 expression and function is in the epithelium joining the posterior digestive tract with the external epidermis. Patterning this region and its derived structures is a conserved function of Abd-B paralog group genes in other animals. Cells that initiate egl-5 expression during embryogenesis are clustered around the presumptive anus. Expression is initiated postembryonically in four additional mesodermal and ectodermal cell lineages or tissues. Once initiated in a lineage, egl-5 expression continues throughout development, suggesting that the action of egl-5 can be regarded as defining a positional cell identity. A variety of cross-regulatory interactions between egl-5 and the next more anterior Hox gene, mab-5, help define the expression domains of their respective gene products. In its expression in a localized body region, function as a marker of positional cell identity, and interactions with another Hox gene, egl-5 resembles Hox genes of other animals. This suggests that C. elegans, in spite of its small cell number and reproducible cell lineages, may not differ greatly from other animals in the way it employs Hox genes for regional specification during development.  (+info)

Merbarone, a catalytic inhibitor of DNA topoisomerase II, induces apoptosis in CEM cells through activation of ICE/CED-3-like protease. (7/5831)

Merbarone (5-[N-phenyl carboxamido]-2-thiobarbituric acid) is an anticancer drug that inhibits the catalytic activity of DNA topoisomerase II (topo II) without damaging DNA or stabilizing DNA-topo II cleavable complexes. Although the cytotoxicity of the complex-stabilizing DNA-topo II inhibitors such as VP-16 (etoposide) has been partially elucidated, the cytotoxicity of merbarone is poorly understood. Here, we report that merbarone induces programmed cell death or apoptosis in human leukemic CEM cells, characterized by internucleosomal DNA cleavage and nuclear condensation. Treatment of CEM cells with apoptosis-inducing concentrations of merbarone caused activation of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase/stress-activated protein kinase, c-jun gene induction, activation of caspase-3/CPP32-like protease but not caspase-1, and the proteolytic cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. Treatment of CEM cells with a potent inhibitor of caspases, Z-Asp-2. 6-dichlorobenzoyloxymethyl-ketone, inhibited merbarone-induced caspase-3/CPP32-like activity and apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. These results indicate that the catalytic inhibition of topo II by merbarone leads to apoptotic cell death through a caspase-3-like protease-dependent mechanism. These results further suggest that c-Jun and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase/stress-activated protein kinase signaling may be involved in the cytotoxicity of merbarone.  (+info)

Interaction of 5-lipoxygenase with cellular proteins. (8/5831)

5-Lipoxygenase (5LO) plays a pivotal role in cellular leukotriene synthesis. To identify proteins interacting with human 5LO, we used a two-hybrid approach to screen a human lung cDNA library. From a total of 1.5 x 10(7) yeast transformants, nine independent clones representing three different proteins were isolated and found to specifically interact with 5LO. Four 1.7- to 1.8-kb clones represented a 16-kDa protein named coactosin-like protein for its significant homology with coactosin, a protein found to be associated with actin in Dictyostelium discoideum. Coactosin-like protein thus may provide a link between 5LO and the cytoskeleton. Two other yeast clones of 1.5 kb encoded transforming growth factor (TGF) type beta receptor-I-associated protein 1 partial cDNA. TGF type beta receptor-I-associated protein 1 recently has been reported to associate with the activated form of the TGF beta receptor I and may be involved in the TGF beta-induced up-regulation of 5LO expression and activity observed in HL-60 and Mono Mac 6 cells. Finally, three identical 2.1-kb clones contained the partial cDNA of a human protein with high homology to a hypothetical helicase K12H4. 8 from Caenorhabditis elegans and consequently was named DeltaK12H4. 8 homologue. Analysis of the predicted amino acid sequence revealed the presence of a RNase III motif and a double-stranded RNA binding domain, indicative of a protein of nuclear origin. The identification of these 5LO-interacting proteins provides additional approaches to studies of the cellular functions of 5LO.  (+info)