The bZip proteins CES-2 and ATF-2 alter the timing of transcription for a cell-specific target gene in C. elegans

Dev Biol. 2006 Jan 15;289(2):456-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2005.10.029. Epub 2005 Nov 28.


The Caenorhabditis elegans basic leucine zipper (bZip) protein CES-2 regulates the transcription of different genes in different cells. Here, we show that CES-2 mediates its effects in one cell (the excretory duct cell) together with another bZip protein, ATF-2. Both proteins influence transactivation of a target gene, lin-48. Although lin-48 is required for both anatomical and physiological features of the excretory duct cell, ces-2 and atf-2 mutants only exhibit anatomical defects. We show that CES-2 and ATF-2 modify the temporal transcription of lin-48, acting to initiate embryonic expression required for normal excretory system development and anatomy. In contrast, CES-2 and ATF-2 do not influence post-embryonic lin-48 expression. We provide evidence that CES-2 and ATF-2 can interact with each other, and that they cooperate to form a complex on lin-48 regulatory sequences. Thus, the two bZip proteins function together as one of several inputs that influence the spatial and temporal regulation of lin-48.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activating Transcription Factor 2 / genetics*
  • Activating Transcription Factor 2 / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Base Sequence
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Binding Sites
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Larva / cytology
  • Larva / genetics
  • Larva / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Species Specificity
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Transgenes


  • Activating Transcription Factor 2
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • CES-2 protein, C elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Lin-48 protein, C elegans
  • Transcription Factors