ATP-binding cassette protein E (ABCE) gene has been annotated as an RNase L inhibitor in eukaryotes. All eukaryotic species show the ubiquitous presence and high degree of conservation of ABCEs, however, RNase L is present only in mammals. This indicates that ABCEs may function not only as RNase L inhibitors, but also may have other functions that have yet to be determined. As an initial investigation into the novel functions of ABCE, we characterized the gene (Y39E4B.1) in Caenorhabditis elegans by a combination of data mining and functional assays. ABCE promoters drove GFP expressions in hypoderm, pharynx, vulvae, head, and tail neurons at all developmental stages. Three genes, rpl-4, nhr-91, and C07B5.3, were previously found to interact with ABCE. Our expression data showed overlapping expression patterns of ABCE and rpl-4 and nhr-91, but not C07B5.3. RNAi against ABCE resulted in embryonic lethality and slow growth. These data suggest that ABCE protein might be involved in the control of translation and transcription, work as shuttle protein between cytoplasm and nucleus, and possibly as a nucleocytoplasmic transporter. In addition, RNAi data suggest that ABCE and NHR-91 may function in vulvae development and molting pathways in C. elegans. Furthermore, our data suggest that ABCE, along with its interacting components, functions in a well-conserved pathway.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier Inc.