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Gene Review

mab-21  -  Protein MAB-21

Caenorhabditis elegans

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Disease relevance of mab-21


High impact information on mab-21

  • cDNA cloning of a human homologue of the Caenorhabditis elegans cell fate-determining gene mab-21: expression, chromosomal localization and analysis of a highly polymorphic (CAG)n trinucleotide repeat [2].
  • This amino acid sequence is homologous (56% amino acid identify and 81% amino acid conservation) to the Caenorhabditis elegans cell fate-determining protein mab-21 [2].
  • Each of the changes in cell fate brought about by mab-21 mutants can be interpreted as a posterior-to-anterior homeotic transformation. mab-21 mutant males and hermaphrodites have additional pleiotropic phenotypes affecting movement, body shape and fecundity, indicating that mab-21 has functions outside the tail region of males [3].
  • In situ hybridization results showed that expression of these mab21 genes marked the early differentiating olfactory bulbs, eye primordia, midbrain and subsequently the branchial pouches and neural tube [4].
  • We showed here that the expression of mab-21 in the hypodermis and neuronal cells was dispensable for its function in ray 6 [5].

Biological context of mab-21

  • BACKGROUND: Through in vivo loss-of-function studies, vertebrate members of the Male abnormal 21 (mab-21) gene family have been implicated in gastrulation, neural tube formation and eye morphogenesis [6].

Anatomical context of mab-21

  • Mammalian homologs of mab-21 have also been implicated to play critical roles in mid-, hindbrain and craniofacial differentiation [7].


  1. Molecular genetic analysis of human homologs of Caenorhabditis elegans mab-21-like 1 gene in patients with neural tube defects. Merello, E., De Marco, P., Moroni, A., Raso, A., Calevo, M.G., Consalez, G.G., Cama, A., Capra, V. Birth defects research. Part A, Clinical and molecular teratology. (2004) [Pubmed]
  2. cDNA cloning of a human homologue of the Caenorhabditis elegans cell fate-determining gene mab-21: expression, chromosomal localization and analysis of a highly polymorphic (CAG)n trinucleotide repeat. Margolis, R.L., Stine, O.C., McInnis, M.G., Ranen, N.G., Rubinsztein, D.C., Leggo, J., Brando, L.V., Kidwai, A.S., Loev, S.J., Breschel, T.S., Callahan, C., Simpson, S.G., DePaulo, J.R., McMahon, F.J., Jain, S., Paykel, E.S., Walsh, C., DeLisi, L.E., Crow, T.J., Torrey, E.F., Ashworth, R.G., Macke, J.P., Nathans, J., Ross, C.A. Hum. Mol. Genet. (1996) [Pubmed]
  3. The mab-21 gene of Caenorhabditis elegans encodes a novel protein required for choice of alternate cell fates. Chow, K.L., Hall, D.H., Emmons, S.W. Development (1995) [Pubmed]
  4. Expression of zebrafish mab21 genes marks the differentiating eye, midbrain and neural tube. Wong, Y.M., Chow, K.L. Mech. Dev. (2002) [Pubmed]
  5. Postembryonic expression of Caenorhabditis elegans mab-21 and its requirement in sensory ray differentiation. Ho, S.H., So, G.M., Chow, K.L. Dev. Dyn. (2001) [Pubmed]
  6. MAB21L2, a vertebrate member of the Male-abnormal 21 family, modulates BMP signaling and interacts with SMAD1. Baldessari, D., Badaloni, A., Longhi, R., Zappavigna, V., Consalez, G.G. BMC Cell Biol. (2004) [Pubmed]
  7. Embryonic XMab21l2 expression is required for gastrulation and subsequent neural development. Lau, G.T., Wong, O.G., Chan, P.M., Kok, K.H., Wong, R.L., Chin, K.T., Lin, M.C., Kung, H.F., Chow, K.L. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (2001) [Pubmed]
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