Dosage compensation proteins targeted to X chromosomes by a determinant of hermaphrodite fate

Science. 1999 Jun 11;284(5421):1800-4. doi: 10.1126/science.284.5421.1800.


In many organisms, master control genes coordinately regulate sex-specific aspects of development. SDC-2 was shown to induce hermaphrodite sexual differentiation and activate X chromosome dosage compensation in Caenorhabditis elegans. To control these distinct processes, SDC-2 acts as a strong gene-specific repressor and a weaker chromosome-wide repressor. To initiate hermaphrodite development, SDC-2 associates with the promoter of the male sex-determining gene her-1 to repress its transcription. To activate dosage compensation, SDC-2 triggers assembly of a specialized protein complex exclusively on hermaphrodite X chromosomes to reduce gene expression by half. SDC-2 can localize to X chromosomes without other components of the dosage compensation complex, suggesting that SDC-2 targets dosage compensation machinery to X chromosomes.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Disorders of Sex Development
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics
  • Helminth Proteins / physiology*
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Sex Determination Processes*
  • Transgenes
  • X Chromosome / genetics
  • X Chromosome / metabolism*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Sdc-3 protein, C elegans
  • her-1 protein, C elegans

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF111934