A Caenorhabditis elegans TGF-beta, DBL-1, controls the expression of LON-1, a PR-related protein, that regulates polyploidization and body length

EMBO J. 2002 Mar 1;21(5):1063-73. doi: 10.1093/emboj/21.5.1063.


Using cDNA-based array analysis combined with double-stranded RNA interference (dsRNAi), we have identified yk298h6 as a target gene of Caenorhabditis elegans TGF-beta signaling. Worms overexpressing dbl-1, a TGF-beta ligand, are 16% longer than wild type. Array analysis shows yk298h6 to be one of several genes suppressed in such worms. Disruption of yk298h6 function by dsRNAi also resulted in long worms, suggesting that it is a negative regulator of body length. yk298h6 was then mapped to, and shown to be identical to, lon-1, a known gene that affects body length. lon-1 encodes a 312 amino acid protein with a motif sequence that is conserved from plants to humans. Expression studies confirm that LON-1 is repressed by DBL-1, suggesting that LON-1 is a novel downstream component of the C.elegans TGF-beta growth regulation pathway. Consistent with this, LON-1 is expressed mainly in the larval and adult hypodermis and has dose-dependent effects on body length associated with changes in hypodermal ploidy, but not hypodermal cell proliferation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animal Population Groups / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Body Constitution / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Size
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics
  • Helminth Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Larva
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Morphogenesis / genetics
  • Multigene Family
  • Neuropeptides / genetics
  • Neuropeptides / physiology*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Phenotype
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Polyploidy
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transcription Factors*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology
  • Yeasts / metabolism


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Dbl-1 protein, C elegans
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • lon-1 protein, C elegans
  • sma-4 protein, C elegans