Caenorhabditis elegans ras gene let-60 acts as a switch in the pathway of vulval induction

Nature. 1990 Dec 6;348(6301):503-9. doi: 10.1038/348503a0.


The let-60 gene, an essential ras gene of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, acts as a switch in the inductive signalling pathway that initiates vulva formation. Recessive let-60 mutations that cause a vulvaless phenotype prevent let-60 function in response to the inductive signal. These mutations are clustered and define regions necessary either for the activation or for the action of the let-60 ras protein. Dominant let-60 mutations that cause a multivulva phenotype alter codon 13 and activate let-60 in vivo, rendering it independent of the inductive signal. The let-60 gene acts within an extensively defined genetic pathway, and other genes within this pathway seem likely to encode molecules that regulate let-60 function as well as molecules that are targets of let-60 action.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis / growth & development
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Codon
  • Embryonic Induction
  • Female
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vulva / embryology


  • Codon
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)