Community Action Needed: Please respond to the NIH RFI
ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-990108-8
Rescue of Caenorhabditis elegans pharyngeal development by a vertebrate heart specification gene
Haun, C., Alexander, J., Stainier, D.Y., and Okkema, P.G.
Date: 1998
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America   95: 5072-5075 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Alexander, Jon, Stainier, Didier
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans/embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans/genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Homeobox
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Heart/embryology*
  • Homeodomain Proteins/physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pharynx/embryology
  • Transcription Factors/physiology*
  • Xenopus Proteins*
PubMed: 9560230 Full text @ Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
Development of pharyngeal muscle in nematodes and cardiac muscle in vertebrates and insects involves the related homeobox genes ceh-22, nkx2.5, and tinman, respectively. To determine whether the nematode and vertebrate genes perform similar functions, we examined activity of the zebrafish nkx2.5 gene in transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans. Here, we report that ectopic expression of nkx2.5 in C. elegans body wall muscle can directly activate expression of both the endogenous myo-2 gene, a ceh-22 target normally expressed only in pharyngeal muscle, and a synthetic reporter construct controlled by a multimerized CEH-22 binding site. nkx2.5 also efficiently rescues a ceh-22 mutant when expressed in pharyngeal muscle. Together, these results indicate that nkx2.5 and ceh-22 provide a single conserved molecular function. Further, they suggest that an evolutionarily conserved mechanism underlies heart development in vertebrates and insects and pharyngeal development in nematodes.