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Gene Review

egl-5  -  Protein EGL-5

Caenorhabditis elegans

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High impact information on egl-5

  • 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 [1].
  • 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 [1].
  • A subset, the two PLM cells, also express the Hox gene egl-5, an Abdominal-B homolog, which we find is required for correct mec-3 expression in these cells [2].
  • The Caenorhabditis elegans spalt-like gene sem-4 restricts touch cell fate by repressing the selector Hox gene egl-5 and the effector gene mec-3 [2].
  • Such expression is dependent on the Hox gene mab-5, as it is in branches where egl-5 is normally expressed [3].

Biological context of egl-5

  • This gene maps on the third chromosome of C. elegans, at the same locus as egl-5, a gene already known to be essential for the determination of specific neurons [4].
  • The Caenorhabditis elegans lin-39, mab-5 and egl-5 Hox genes specify cell fates along the anterior-posterior body axis of the nematode during postembryonic development, but little is known about Hox gene functions during embryogenesis [5].
  • Regulated expression of egl-5 in this cell lineage is necessary for development of the sensory rays of the male tail. sop-3 encodes a predicted novel protein of 1475 amino acids without clear homologs in other organisms [3].
  • Therefore, egl-5 is required for making a subset of rays capable of adopting dopaminergic identity, while the function of the DBL-1 pathway signal is to pattern the realization of this capability [6].
  • Increasing or decreasing the gene dosage of mab-5, an Antennapedia homolog, and egl-5, an Abdominal B homolog, results in displacement and fusion of specific rays [7].

Anatomical context of egl-5

  • The affected cells are related only by position and not by ancestry. egl-5 is also required for normal development of the somatic gonad and sex muscles in males [8].
  • A major site of egl-5 expression and function is in the epithelium joining the posterior digestive tract with the external epidermis [9].

Regulatory relationships of egl-5

  • Thus, sop-3 contributes to the combinatorial control of egl-5 by blocking egl-5 activation by MAB-5 and the Wnt pathway in inappropriate lineage branches [3].

Other interactions of egl-5


Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of egl-5


  1. The Caenorhabditis elegans gene ham-2 links Hox patterning to migration of the HSN motor neuron. Baum, P.D., Guenther, C., Frank, C.A., Pham, B.V., Garriga, G. Genes Dev. (1999) [Pubmed]
  2. The Caenorhabditis elegans spalt-like gene sem-4 restricts touch cell fate by repressing the selector Hox gene egl-5 and the effector gene mec-3. Toker, A.S., Teng, Y., Ferreira, H.B., Emmons, S.W., Chalfie, M. Development (2003) [Pubmed]
  3. The novel C. elegans gene sop-3 modulates Wnt signaling to regulate Hox gene expression. Zhang, H., Emmons, S.W. Development (2001) [Pubmed]
  4. Cloning and analysis of three new homeobox genes from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Schaller, D., Wittmann, C., Spicher, A., Müller, F., Tobler, H. Nucleic Acids Res. (1990) [Pubmed]
  5. Anterior organization of the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo by the labial-like Hox gene ceh-13. Brunschwig, K., Wittmann, C., Schnabel, R., Bürglin, T.R., Tobler, H., Müller, F. Development (1999) [Pubmed]
  6. Patterning of dopaminergic neurotransmitter identity among Caenorhabditis elegans ray sensory neurons by a TGFbeta family signaling pathway and a Hox gene. Lints, R., Emmons, S.W. Development (1999) [Pubmed]
  7. HOM-C/Hox genes and four interacting loci determine the morphogenetic properties of single cells in the nematode male tail. Chow, K.L., Emmons, S.W. Development (1994) [Pubmed]
  8. Control of cell fate in the tail region of C. elegans by the gene egl-5. Chisholm, A. Development (1991) [Pubmed]
  9. Patterning of Caenorhabditis elegans posterior structures by the Abdominal-B homolog, egl-5. Ferreira, H.B., Zhang, Y., Zhao, C., Emmons, S.W. Dev. Biol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  10. The role of lin-22, a hairy/enhancer of split homolog, in patterning the peripheral nervous system of C. elegans. Wrischnik, L.A., Kenyon, C.J. Development (1997) [Pubmed]
  11. Cell fate specification and differentiation in the nervous system of Caenorhabditis elegans. Sengupta, P., Bargmann, C.I. Dev. Genet. (1996) [Pubmed]
  12. A Caenorhabditis elegans homeobox gene expressed in the male tail, a link between pattern formation and sexual dimorphism? Kagoshima, H., Cassata, G., Bürglin, T.R. Dev. Genes Evol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  13. Dissection of cis-regulatory elements in the C. elegans Hox gene egl-5 promoter. Teng, Y., Girard, L., Ferreira, H.B., Sternberg, P.W., Emmons, S.W. Dev. Biol. (2004) [Pubmed]
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