Multiple roles for the E/Daughterless ortholog HLH-2 during C. elegans gonadogenesis

Dev Biol. 2004 Aug 15;272(2):460-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2004.05.015.


HLH-2 is the Caenorhabditis elegans ortholog of the Drosophila Daughterless and mammalian E basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcriptional activators that function during diverse events during animal development. HLH-2 has been implicated in cell fate specification in different neural lineages and in the LIN-12/Notch-mediated anchor cell (AC)/ventral uterine precursor cell (VU) decision in the somatic gonad. Here, we show that hlh-2 plays several distinct roles during somatic gonadogenesis. Our analysis suggests that hlh-2 is required to endow specific somatic gonadal cells with the competence to undergo the AC/VU decision, as well as functioning in the AC/VU decision per se; this novel "proAC" role appears to be analogous to the proneural role of Drosophila Daughterless. In addition to its two distinct roles in the specification of the AC, hlh-2 is also required for correct differentiation and function of the AC. hlh-2 also acts at an independent point in the gonadal lineage both to specify distal tip cells (DTCs) and in DTC differentiation and function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Lineage
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Disorders of Sex Development / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Larva
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Organogenesis / physiology*
  • RNA Interference
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Uterus / abnormalities
  • Uterus / cytology
  • Uterus / embryology*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Da protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • HLH-2 protein, C elegans
  • Lin-12 protein, C elegans
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Transcription Factors
  • lag-2 protein, C elegans