The Caenorhabditis elegans presenilin sel-12 is required for mesodermal patterning and muscle function

Dev Biol. 2002 Nov 1;251(1):178-92. doi: 10.1006/dbio.2002.0782.


Mutations in presenilin genes impair Notch signalling and, in humans, have been implicated in the development of familial Alzheimer's disease. We show here that a reduction of the activity of the Caenorhabditis elegans presenilin sel-12 results in a late defect during sex muscle development. The morphological abnormalities and functional deficits in the sex muscles contribute to the egg-laying defects seen in sel-12 hermaphrodites and to the severely reduced mating efficiency of sel-12 males. Both defects can be rescued by expressing sel-12 from the hlh-8 promoter that is active during the development of the sex muscle-specific M lineage, but not by expressing sel-12 from late muscle-specific promoters. Both weak and strong sel-12 mutations cause defects in the sex muscles that resemble the defects we found in lin-12 hypomorphic alleles, suggesting a previously uncharacterised LIN-12 signalling event late in postembryonic mesoderm development. Together with a previous study indicating a role of lin-12 and sel-12 during the specification of the pi cell lineage required for proper vulva-uterine connection, our data suggest that the failure of sel-12 animals to lay eggs properly is caused by defects in at least two independent signalling events in different tissues during development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics*
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Mesoderm / physiology
  • Muscles / embryology
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Mutation


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • SEL-12 protein, C elegans