The C. elegans che-1 gene encodes a zinc finger transcription factor required for specification of the ASE chemosensory neurons

Development. 2003 Apr;130(7):1215-24. doi: 10.1242/dev.00341.


Chemotaxis to water-soluble chemicals such as NaCl is an important behavior of C. elegans when seeking food. ASE chemosensory neurons have a major role in this behavior. We show that che-1, defined by chemotaxis defects, encodes a zinc-finger protein similar to the GLASS transcription factor required for photoreceptor cell differentiation in Drosophila, and that che-1 is essential for specification and function of ASE neurons. Expression of a che-1::gfp fusion construct was predominant in ASE. In che-1 mutants, expression of genes characterizing ASE such as seven-transmembrane receptors, guanylate cyclases and a cyclic-nucleotide gated channel is lost. Ectopic expression of che-1 cDNA induced expression of ASE-specific marker genes, a dye-filling defect in neurons other than ASE and dauer formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics*
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Zinc Fingers / genetics*
  • Zinc Fingers / physiology


  • CHE-1 protein, C elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • gl protein, Drosophila