The multigene family of intermediate filament (IF) proteins in Caenorhabditis elegans covers 11 members of which four (A1-3, B1) are essential for development. Suppression of a fifth gene (C2) results in a dumpy phenotype. Expression patterns of three essential genes (A1, A3, B1) were already reported. To begin to analyze the two remaining RNAi phenotypes we followed the expression of the A2 and C2 proteins. Expression of A2 mRNA starts in larval stage L1 and continues in the adult. Transgenic A2 promoter/gfp larvae strongly display GFP in the main body hypodermis but not in seam cells. This pattern and the muscle displacement/paralysis induced by RNAi silencing are consistent with the role of this protein in keeping the correct hypodermis/muscle relationship during development. IF protein C2 occurs in the cytoplasm and desmosomes of intestinal cells and in pharynx desmosomes. Expression of C2 starts in the late embryo and persists in all further stages.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.