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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The mec-3 gene contains cis-acting elements mediating positive and negative regulation in cells produced by asymmetric cell division in Caenorhabditis elegans.

The homeo box-containing genes mec-3 and unc-86 are necessary to specify the fate of a defined set of mechanoreceptors in Caenorhabditis elegans. Previous experiments have shown that mec-3 expression can be divided into two phases: initial synthesis mediated in part by unc-86, and continued synthesis that requires mec-3 itself. We now identify sequences that have been conserved during Caenorhabditis evolution and are necessary for establishment, maintenance, and repression of mec-3 expression. Upstream of the start codon for the mec-3-coding sequence are four segments (regions I-IV) of 71, 29, 28, and 24 bp, which are almost identical between C. elegans and Caenorhabditis vulgarensis. Region I is the only conserved sequence that effects establishment of mec-3 synthesis. Maintenance of mec-3 expression is mediated primarily by region II. Repression appears to be controlled by several segments: Mutation of region III, region IV, and parts of region I in a mec-3-lacZ fusion results in beta-galactosidase expression in some non-mec-3- expressing sisters of mec-3-positive cells. These results indicate that the mec-3 5' region contains target sequences that mediate a genetic switch between alternative fates expressed by sister cells in a stereotyped cell lineage.[1]


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