NHR-23, a conserved member of the nuclear receptor family of transcription factors, is required for normal development in Caenorhabditis elegans where it plays a critical role in growth and molting. In a search for NHR-23 dependent genes, we performed whole genome comparative expression microarrays on both control and nhr-23 inhibited synchronized larvae. Genes that decreased in response to nhr-23 RNAi included several collagen genes. Unexpectedly, several hedgehog-related genes were also down-regulated after nhr-23 RNAi. A homozygous nhr-23 deletion allele was used to confirm the RNAi knockdown phenotypes and the changes in gene expression. Our results indicate that NHR-23 is a critical co-regulator of functionally linked genes involved in growth and molting and reveal evolutionary parallels among the ecdysozoa.
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