Identification of cis-regulatory elements from the C. elegans T-box gene mab-9 reveals a novel role for mab-9 in hypodermal function

Dev Biol. 2008 May 15;317(2):695-704. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.02.049. Epub 2008 Mar 18.


We have identified Conserved Non-coding Elements (CNEs) in the regulatory region of Caenorhabditis elegans and Caenorhabditis briggsae mab-9, a T-box gene known to be important for cell fate specification in the developing C. elegans hindgut. Two adjacent CNEs (a region 78 bp in length) are both necessary and sufficient to drive reporter gene expression in posterior hypodermal cells. The failure of a genomic mab-9::gfp construct lacking this region to express in posterior hypodermis correlates with the inability of this construct to completely rescue the mab-9 mutant phenotype. Transgenic males carrying this construct in a mab-9 mutant background exhibit tail abnormalities including morphogenetic defects, altered tail autofluorescence and abnormal lectin-binding properties. Hermaphrodites display reduced susceptibility to the C. elegans pathogen Microbacterium nematophilum. This comparative genomics approach has therefore revealed a previously unknown role for mab-9 in hypodermal function and we suggest that MAB-9 is required for the secretion and/or modification of posterior cuticle.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology
  • Conserved Sequence / genetics
  • DNA Primers
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Regulatory Elements, Transcriptional / genetics*
  • Regulatory Elements, Transcriptional / physiology
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Species Specificity
  • Subcutaneous Tissue / embryology
  • Subcutaneous Tissue / metabolism*
  • Tail / embryology
  • Tail / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • Mab-9 protein, C elegans
  • Transcription Factors