Genome-scale analysis of in vivo spatiotemporal promoter activity in Caenorhabditis elegans

Nat Biotechnol. 2007 Jun;25(6):663-8. doi: 10.1038/nbt1305. Epub 2007 May 7.


Differential regulation of gene expression is essential for cell fate specification in metazoans. Characterizing the transcriptional activity of gene promoters, in time and in space, is therefore a critical step toward understanding complex biological systems. Here we present an in vivo spatiotemporal analysis for approximately 900 predicted C. elegans promoters (approximately 5% of the predicted protein-coding genes), each driving the expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP). Using a flow-cytometer adapted for nematode profiling, we generated 'chronograms', two-dimensional representations of fluorescence intensity along the body axis and throughout development from early larvae to adults. Automated comparison and clustering of the obtained in vivo expression patterns show that genes coexpressed in space and time tend to belong to common functional categories. Moreover, integration of this data set with C. elegans protein-protein interactome data sets enables prediction of anatomical and temporal interaction territories between protein partners.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*
  • Proteome / genetics
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Proteome