Polycomb group regulation of Hox gene expression in C. elegans

Dev Cell. 2003 Jun;4(6):891-901. doi: 10.1016/s1534-5807(03)00135-7.

Abstract

Polycomb group (PcG) chromatin proteins regulate homeotic genes in both animals and plants. In Drosophila and vertebrates, PcG proteins form complexes and maintain early patterns of Hox gene repression, ensuring fidelity of developmental patterning. PcG proteins in C. elegans form a complex and mediate transcriptional silencing in the germline, but no role for the C. elegans PcG homologs in somatic Hox gene regulation has been demonstrated. Surprisingly, we find that the PcG homologs MES-2 [E(Z)] and MES-6 (ESC), along with MES-3, a protein without known homologs, do repress Hox expression in C. elegans. mes mutations cause anteroposterior transformations and disrupt Hox-dependent neuroblast migration. Thus, as in Drosophila, vertebrates, and plants, C. elegans PcG proteins regulate key developmental patterning genes to establish positional identity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Helminth*
  • Genes, Homeobox*
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics*
  • Helminth Proteins / metabolism*
  • Larva
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism

Substances

  • Helminth Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins