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Gene Review

zag-1  -  Protein ZAG-1

Caenorhabditis elegans

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Disease relevance of zag-1

  • The development and differentiation of many neurons require the gene zag-1, which encodes a deltaEF1/ZFH-1 Zn-finger-homeodomain protein. zag-1 mutations cause misexpression of neuron-specific genes, block formation of stereotypic axon branches, perturb neuronal migrations, and induce various axon-guidance, fasciculation and branching errors [1].

High impact information on zag-1

  • Several neurons misexpress differentiation markers, including glutamate receptor subunits and chemosensory receptors. zag-1 is expressed transiently in embryonic and postembryonic neurons during differentiation as well as in some mesodermal tissues [2].
  • Null mutants of zag-1 are unable to swallow food and die as L1 larvae with a starved appearance, indicating that zag-1 has an additional role in pharynx development [2].
  • Analysis of the zag-1 promoter reveals that zag-1 is expressed in neurons and specific muscles, and that ZAG-1 directly represses its own expression. zag-1 activity also downregulates expression of genes involved in either the synthesis or reuptake of serotonin, dopamine and GABA [1].
  • Ast-1 genetically interacts with other transcription factors controlling neuronal differentiation like lin-11 and zag-1 as well as components of the netrin pathway suggesting that ast-1 might control the expression of components of the netrin signal transduction machinery [3].


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