Proper expression of myosin genes in transgenic nematodes

EMBO J. 1989 Nov;8(11):3419-28.


Caenorhabditis elegans has four genes which encode skeletal myosin heavy chain isoforms. We have re-introduced clones of two of these genes, myo-3 and unc-54 at low copy number into the germline of C. elegans. The resulting loci behave as functional copies of the genes by two genetic criteria: (i) they can result in phenotypic rescue of strains carrying inactivating myo-3 or unc-54 mutations, and (ii) their presence in strains with wild-type copies of the endogenous myosin loci has genetic consequences similar to duplicating the endogenous loci. The re-introduced genes function at a level close to that of the endogenous loci. Monoclonal antibodies specific for the different isoforms have been used to localize the expressed proteins. The re-introduced genes express in precisely the same cell types as the endogenous genes, and the myosin products produced assemble into filament structures as in wild-type. Unexpectedly, we have found in the course of this work that very high copy numbers of the unc-54 gene lead to a disruption of muscle structure which may result from overexpression of the protein product.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Caenorhabditis / genetics*
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Gene Expression*
  • Genes
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Mutation
  • Myosins / biosynthesis
  • Myosins / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Transfection
  • Transformation, Genetic


  • Myosins