Posterior pattern formation in C. elegans involves position-specific expression of a gene containing a homeobox

Cell. 1988 Dec 2;55(5):747-56. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(88)90131-6.


During postembryonic development in C. elegans, posterior-specific pattern formation requires the gene mab-5. Within the posterior body region, mab-5 activity controls epidermal, neuronal, and mesodermal cell differentiation, and also the direction of cell migration. Here, we show that mab-5 RNA is localized in the posterior body region, indicating that mab-5 activity is targeted to posterior cells, at least in part, by a mechanism that operates at the level of mab-5 RNA synthesis or stabilization. We also show that mab-5 contains a homeobox similar to that of the Drosophila Antennapedia gene. This suggests that mab-5 influences cell differentiation and cell migration by regulating gene expression, and clearly demonstrates that genes containing homeoboxes influence global aspects of pattern formation in organisms other than Drosophila.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • Caenorhabditis / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis / growth & development
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Homeobox*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Morphogenesis
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • RNA, Messenger

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M22751