Multiple functions of PBRM-1/Polybromo- and LET-526/Osa-containing chromatin remodeling complexes in C. elegans development

Dev Biol. 2012 Jan 15;361(2):349-57. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.10.035. Epub 2011 Nov 18.


The SWI/SNF-like chromatin remodeling complexes consist of two evolutionarily conserved subclasses, which are characterized by specific accessory components, the OSA/BAF250 and Polybromo proteins. These complexes regulate the expressions of distinct sets of target genes, with some overlap, and the regulatory components are thought to determine the target specificity for each complex. Here we isolated C. elegans mutants of the genes for the OSA/BAF250 homolog, LET-526, and the Polybromo homolog, PBRM-1, in a screen for the abnormal asymmetric cell division phenotype. In the asymmetric division of the T cell, both LET-526 and PBRM-1 regulated the asymmetric expression of psa-3/Meis between the T cell daughters, suggesting that the two subclasses share the same target. In the gonad, PBRM-1 regulated gonad primordium formation during embryogenesis, whereas LET-526 was required post-embryonically for distal tip cell (DTC) production from the gonad primordium, suggesting that these proteins have distinct targets for DTC development. Thus, the same cellular process is regulated by LET-526 and PBRM-1 in the asymmetric division of the T cell, but they regulate distinct cellular processes in the gonad morphogenesis. Although disruption of the core component PSA-1 or PSA-4 caused similar defects in the gonad and T cell, it also caused early embryonic arrest, which was not observed in the let-526, pbrm-1, or let-526 pbrm-1 double mutants, suggesting that some targets of SWI/SNF-like complexes do not require LET-526 or PBRM-1 for their transcription. Our results show that the target selection by SWI/SNF-like complexes during C. elegans development is intricately regulated by accessory components.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Lineage
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly*
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Embryonic Development / genetics
  • Genes, Helminth / genetics
  • Gonads / cytology
  • Gonads / growth & development
  • Gonads / metabolism
  • Mitosis / genetics
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Protein Transport
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway / genetics


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • SWI-SNF-B chromatin-remodeling complex
  • Transcription Factors