The mec-4 gene is a member of a family of Caenorhabditis elegans genes that can mutate to induce neuronal degeneration

Nature. 1991 Feb 14;349(6310):588-93. doi: 10.1038/349588a0.


Three dominant mutations of mec-4, a gene needed for mechanosensation, cause the touch-receptor neurons of Caenorhabditis elegans to degenerate. With deg-1, another C. elegans gene that can mutate to induce neuronal degeneration and that is similar in sequence, mec-4 defines a new gene family. Cross-hybridizing sequences are detectable in other species, raising the possibility that degenerative conditions in other organisms may be caused by mutations in similar genes. All three dominant mec-4 mutations affect the same amino acid. Effects of amino-acid substitutions at this position suggest that steric hindrance may induce the degenerative state.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis / genetics*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Genes
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Mutation
  • Nerve Degeneration*
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Touch / physiology

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M31718
  • GENBANK/X52371
  • GENBANK/X52372
  • GENBANK/X56198
  • GENBANK/X56199
  • GENBANK/X57181
  • GENBANK/X57182
  • GENBANK/X57183
  • GENBANK/X57184
  • GENBANK/X58982