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Gene Review

unc-4  -  Protein UNC-4

Caenorhabditis elegans

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Psychiatry related information on unc-4

  • Experiments with a temperature-sensitive unc-4 mutant show that the adult level of SV proteins strictly depends on unc-4 function during a critical period of motor neuron differentiation. unc-4 activity during this sensitive larval stage is also required for the creation of proper synaptic inputs to VA motor neurons [1].

High impact information on unc-4


Biological context of unc-4

  • We have isolated four, dominant, extragenic, allele-specific suppressors of unc-4(e2322ts), a temperature sensitive allele with a point mutation in the unc-4 homeodomain [7].
  • Both genes, which are separated by 250,000 to 300,000 base-pairs were assigned to chromosome II by in situ hybridization and physically linked to a DNA polymorphism located near unc-4 on the genetic map [8].
  • Our results are consistent with a model in which this unc-4 target gene ("gene-x") functions at a post-transcriptional level as a negative regulator of SV biogenesis or stability [1].
  • A novel Drosophila paired-like homeobox gene related to Caenorhabditis elegans unc-4 is expressed in subsets of postmitotic neurons and epidermal cells [9].

Anatomical context of unc-4

  • The normal function of the wild-type allele of unc-4 may thus be to invoke the appropriate synaptic specificities to VA motor neurons produced in particular developmental contexts [2].
  • We propose that unc-4 controls a differentiated characteristic of the VA motor neurons that distinguishes them from their VB sisters, thus dictating recognition by the appropriate interneurons [10].

Associations of unc-4 with chemical compounds


Physical interactions of unc-4

  • Alternatively, unc-37 may encode a gene product that interacts with the unc-4 homeodomain [7].

Regulatory relationships of unc-4


Other interactions of unc-4


  1. Regulation of neurotransmitter vesicles by the homeodomain protein UNC-4 and its transcriptional corepressor UNC-37/groucho in Caenorhabditis elegans cholinergic motor neurons. Lickteig, K.M., Duerr, J.S., Frisby, D.L., Hall, D.H., Rand, J.B., Miller, D.M. J. Neurosci. (2001) [Pubmed]
  2. Mutations in the Caenorhabditis elegans unc-4 gene alter the synaptic input to ventral cord motor neurons. White, J.G., Southgate, E., Thomson, J.N. Nature (1992) [Pubmed]
  3. C. elegans unc-4 gene encodes a homeodomain protein that determines the pattern of synaptic input to specific motor neurons. Miller, D.M., Shen, M.M., Shamu, C.E., Bürglin, T.R., Ruvkun, G., Dubois, M.L., Ghee, M., Wilson, L. Nature (1992) [Pubmed]
  4. UNC-4/UNC-37-dependent repression of motor neuron-specific genes controls synaptic choice in Caenorhabditis elegans. Winnier, A.R., Meir, J.Y., Ross, J.M., Tavernarakis, N., Driscoll, M., Ishihara, T., Katsura, I., Miller, D.M. Genes Dev. (1999) [Pubmed]
  5. Cloning and characterization of four murine homeobox genes. Rovescalli, A.C., Asoh, S., Nirenberg, M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1996) [Pubmed]
  6. The C. elegans NeuroD homolog cnd-1 functions in multiple aspects of motor neuron fate specification. Hallam, S., Singer, E., Waring, D., Jin, Y. Development (2000) [Pubmed]
  7. Dominant unc-37 mutations suppress the movement defect of a homeodomain mutation in unc-4, a neural specificity gene in Caenorhabditis elegans. Miller, D.M., Niemeyer, C.J., Chitkara, P. Genetics (1993) [Pubmed]
  8. Genomic organization of the glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase gene family of Caenorhabditis elegans. Huang, X.Y., Barrios, L.A., Vonkhorporn, P., Honda, S., Albertson, D.G., Hecht, R.M. J. Mol. Biol. (1989) [Pubmed]
  9. A novel Drosophila paired-like homeobox gene related to Caenorhabditis elegans unc-4 is expressed in subsets of postmitotic neurons and epidermal cells. Tabuchi, K., Yoshikawa, S., Yuasa, Y., Sawamoto, K., Okano, H. Neurosci. Lett. (1998) [Pubmed]
  10. Expression of the unc-4 homeoprotein in Caenorhabditis elegans motor neurons specifies presynaptic input. Miller, D.M., Niemeyer, C.J. Development (1995) [Pubmed]
  11. Genetic and cellular basis for acetylcholine inhibition of Caenorhabditis elegans egg-laying behavior. Bany, I.A., Dong, M.Q., Koelle, M.R. J. Neurosci. (2003) [Pubmed]
  12. The Groucho-like transcription factor UNC-37 functions with the neural specificity gene unc-4 to govern motor neuron identity in C. elegans. Pflugrad, A., Meir, J.Y., Barnes, T.M., Miller, D.M. Development (1997) [Pubmed]
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