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Gene Review

fem-2  -  Protein FEM-2

Caenorhabditis elegans

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Disease relevance of fem-2

  • Severe alleles of fem-2 also cause complete feminization of XX animals at all temperatures, but feminization of fem-2 XO animals is temperature-sensitive: complete at 25 degrees, incomplete at 20 degrees [1].

High impact information on fem-2

  • Point mutations that abolish the casein phosphatase activity of FEM-2 without affecting its FEM-3-binding activity reduce severely its ability to rescue male development in fem-2 mutant nematodes [2].
  • In Caenorhabditis elegans, fem-1, fem-2, and fem-3 play pivotal roles in sex determination [3].
  • Several fem-2 mutant alleles were sequenced, and the mutations are predicted to cause protein changes consistent with their observed phenotypes, such as missense mutations in conditional alleles, and a nonsense mutation in a predicted null allele [4].
  • At least two genes, fem-1 and fem-2, control the initiation of spermatogenesis in XX (hermaphrodite) worms, and the entire spectrum of male differentiation in XO animals [5].
  • Mutation of the gene fem-2 causes feminization of both sexes: hermaphrodites make no sperm, and males produce oocytes in an intersexual somatic gonad [6].

Biological context of fem-2

  • However, the non-conserved regions of FEM-2 cannot be said to lack functional importance, since fem-2 transgenes from the other species were unable to rescue the germ-line defect caused by a C. elegans fem-2 mutation [7].

Other interactions of fem-2

  • A double mutant harboring ts alleles of both fem-1 (formerly named isx-1; G. A. Nelson, K. K. Lew, and S. Ward, 1978, Dev. Biol. 66, 386-409) and fem-2 causes transformation of XO animals (normally male) into spermless hermaphrodites at restrictive temperature [6].
  • Using degenerate oligonucleotide primers, we isolated the Caenorhabditis remanei orthologue of the C. elegans sex-determining phosphatase gene fem-2 as well as two other protein phosphatase homologues [8].


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