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Gene Review

pal-1  -  Protein PAL-1

Caenorhabditis elegans

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High impact information on pal-1

  • We find that pal-1 activity is sequentially restricted to this blastomere [1].
  • We propose that the segregation of PIE-1, combined with the temporal decay of SKN-1, targets pal-1 activity to this posterior lineage, thus coupling the regulation of this conserved posterior patterning gene to asymmetric cell cleavages [1].
  • The activities of cell signals and pal-1 appear to influence V cell fates by determining the state of a developmental switch that involves two homeotic genes, lin-22 and mab-5 [2].
  • These cell interactions are inhibited in specific posterior V cells by the activity of the gene pal-1, which allows these cells to generate rays instead of alae [2].
  • The pal-1+ protein could block the response to cell signals either by repressing genes involved in signal transduction or by acting directly on downstream genes in a way that neutralizes the effects of the intercellular signals [3].

Biological context of pal-1

  • To examine the mutagenic spectrum of 4,5',8-trimethylpsoralen (TMP) in Caenorhabditis elegans, we isolated mutations in the unc-22 and pal-1 genes following TMP mutagenesis and analyzed them for restriction fragment length polymorphisms by Southern blot [4].
  • First, the caudal homolog pal-1 turns on mab-5 in V6 during embryogenesis [5].
  • To evaluate the amount of synteny between the two genomes, we have obtained 126 kb of continuous genomic sequence of P.pacificus, flanking the developmental patterning gene pal-1 [6].

Anatomical context of pal-1

  • While pal-1 mRNA is present throughout the oocyte and early embryo, PAL-1 protein is expressed only in posterior blastomeres, starting at the four-cell stage [7].
  • Aberrant early cell positions are observed in posterior hypodermis, both in the C-lineage cells that express pal-1 and in the neighboring hypodermal seam cell precursors, which do not, as well as in posterior muscle derived from the C and D lineages [8].

Regulatory relationships of pal-1


Other interactions of pal-1

  • Signaling between V cells is required for the formation of the neuroblast; however, which of the V cells can make a postdeirid is not determined by these signals but rather by the action of the homeotic lin-22 and pal-1 genes [10].
  • Furthermore, pal-1, a caudal homologue with maternal product necessary for the proper development of the C blastomere, is both necessary and sufficient for vab-7 expression [11].


  1. Spatial and temporal controls target pal-1 blastomere-specification activity to a single blastomere lineage in C. elegans embryos. Hunter, C.P., Kenyon, C. Cell (1996) [Pubmed]
  2. Selective silencing of cell communication influences anteroposterior pattern formation in C. elegans. Waring, D.A., Kenyon, C. Cell (1990) [Pubmed]
  3. Regulation of cellular responsiveness to inductive signals in the developing C. elegans nervous system. Waring, D.A., Kenyon, C. Nature (1991) [Pubmed]
  4. Trimethylpsoralen induces small deletion mutations in Caenorhabditis elegans. Yandell, M.D., Edgar, L.G., Wood, W.B. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1994) [Pubmed]
  5. Hox gene expression in a single Caenorhabditis elegans cell is regulated by a caudal homolog and intercellular signals that inhibit wnt signaling. Hunter, C.P., Harris, J.M., Maloof, J.N., Kenyon, C. Development (1999) [Pubmed]
  6. Limited microsynteny between the genomes of Pristionchus pacificus and Caenorhabditis elegans. Lee, K.Z., Eizinger, A., Nandakumar, R., Schuster, S.C., Sommer, R.J. Nucleic Acids Res. (2003) [Pubmed]
  7. MEX-3 interacting proteins link cell polarity to asymmetric gene expression in Caenorhabditis elegans. Huang, N.N., Mootz, D.E., Walhout, A.J., Vidal, M., Hunter, C.P. Development (2002) [Pubmed]
  8. Zygotic expression of the caudal homolog pal-1 is required for posterior patterning in Caenorhabditis elegans embryogenesis. Edgar, L.G., Carr, S., Wang, H., Wood, W.B. Dev. Biol. (2001) [Pubmed]
  9. A C. elegans mediator protein confers regulatory selectivity on lineage-specific expression of a transcription factor gene. Zhang, H., Emmons, S.W. Genes Dev. (2000) [Pubmed]
  10. Cell signals allow the expression of a pre-existent neural pattern in C. elegans. Waring, D.A., Wrischnik, L., Kenyon, C. Development (1992) [Pubmed]
  11. Maternal control of a zygotic patterning gene in Caenorhabditis elegans. Ahringer, J. Development (1997) [Pubmed]
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