Genetic and molecular analysis of eight tRNA(Trp) amber suppressors in Caenorhabditis elegans

J Mol Biol. 1990 Sep 5;215(1):7-19. doi: 10.1016/S0022-2836(05)80090-7.


Over 100 revertants of five different amber mutants were analyzed by Southern blot hybridization using synthetic oligomers as probes to detect a single base change at the anticodon, CCA to CTA (amber), of tRNA(Trp) genes of Caenohrabditis elegans. Of the 12 members of the tRNA(Trp) gene family, a total of eight were converted to amber suppressor alleles. All eight encode identical tRNAs; three of these are new tRNA(Trp) suppressors, sup-21, sup-33 and sup-34. Previous results had suggested that individual suppressor tRNA genes were expressed differentially in a cell-type- or developmental stage-specific manner. To extend these observations to the new genes and to test the specificity of expression against additional genes, cross suppression tests of these eight amber suppressors were carried out against amber mutations in several different genes including genes likely to be expressed in the same cell-type: three nervous system-affecting genes, two muscle structure-affecting genes and two genes presumed to be expressed in hypodermis. Seven out of eight suppressors could be distinguished one from another by the spectrum of their suppression efficiencies. These results also provide further evidence of cell-type-specific patterns of expression in the nervous system, muscle and hypodermis. The suppression pattern of the suppressor against the two muscle-affecting genes, unc-15 and unc-52, suggested that either the suppressors are expressed in a developmental stage-specific manner or that the unc-52 products are expressed in cell-types other than muscle, possibly hypodermis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis / growth & development
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Mutation*
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acid-Specific / genetics*
  • RNA, Transfer, Trp / genetics*
  • Suppression, Genetic*


  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acid-Specific
  • RNA, Transfer, Trp