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Diverse chromatin remodeling genes antagonize the Rb-involved SynMuv pathways in C. elegans.

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Author(s): Cui Mingxue | Kim E Bridget | Han Min

Journal: PLoS Genetics
ISSN 1553-7390

Volume: 2;
Issue: 5;
Start page: e74;
Date: 2006;
Original page

ABSTRACT
In Caenorhabditis elegans, vulval cell-fate specification involves the activities of multiple signal transduction and regulatory pathways that include a receptor tyrosine kinase/Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway and synthetic multivulva (SynMuv) pathways. Many genes in the SynMuv pathways encode transcription factors including the homologs of mammalian Rb, E2F, and components of the nucleosome-remodeling deacetylase complex. To further elucidate the functions of the SynMuv genes, we performed a genome-wide RNA interference (RNAi) screen to search for genes that antagonize the SynMuv gene activities. Among those that displayed a varying degree of suppression of the SynMuv phenotype, 32 genes are potentially involved in chromatin remodeling (called SynMuv suppressor genes herein). Genetic mutations of two representative genes (zfp-1 and mes-4) were used to further characterize their positive roles in vulval induction and relationships with Ras function. Our analysis revealed antagonistic roles of the SynMuv suppressor genes and the SynMuv B genes in germline-soma distinction, RNAi, somatic transgene silencing, and tissue specific expression of pgl-1 and the lag-2/Delta genes. The opposite roles of these SynMuv B and SynMuv suppressor genes on transcriptional regulation were confirmed in somatic transgene silencing. We also report the identifications of ten new genes in the RNAi pathway and six new genes in germline silencing. Among the ten new RNAi genes, three encode homologs of proteins involved in both protein degradation and chromatin remodeling. Our findings suggest that multiple chromatin remodeling complexes are involved in regulating the expression of specific genes that play critical roles in developmental decisions.
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