Genetic suppressors of Caenorhabditis elegans pha-4/FoxA identify the predicted AAA helicase ruvb-1/RuvB

Genetics. 2007 Oct;177(2):819-33. doi: 10.1534/genetics.107.076653. Epub 2007 Aug 24.


FoxA transcription factors are critical regulators of gut development and function. FoxA proteins specify gut fate during early embryogenesis, drive gut differentiation and morphogenesis at later stages, and affect gut function to mediate nutritional responses. The level of FoxA is critical for these roles, yet we know relatively little about regulators for this family of proteins. To address this issue, we conducted a genetic screen for mutants that suppress a partial loss of pha-4, the sole FoxA factor of Caenorhabditis elegans. We identified 55 mutants using either chemical or insertional mutagenesis. Forty-two of these were informational suppressors that affected nonsense-mediated decay, while the remaining 13 were pha-4 suppressors. These 13 alleles defined at least six different loci. On the basis of mutational frequencies for C. elegans and the genetic dominance of four of the suppressors, we predict that many of the suppressors are either unusual loss-of-function mutations in negative regulators or rare gain-of-function mutations in positive regulators. We characterized one dominant suppressor molecularly and discovered the mutation alters a likely cis-regulatory region within pha-4 itself. A second suppressor defined a new locus, the predicted AAA+ helicase ruvb-1. These results indicate that our screen successfully found cis- or trans-acting regulators of pha-4.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • DNA Helicases / physiology*
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Genes, Suppressor
  • Genetic Techniques
  • Trans-Activators / physiology*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Pha-4 protein, C elegans
  • Trans-Activators
  • Ruvb-1 protein, C elegans
  • DNA Helicases