mab-3, a gene required for sex-specific yolk protein expression and a male-specific lineage in C. elegans

Cell. 1988 Sep 23;54(7):1019-31. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(88)90117-1.


The gene mab-3 appears to regulate a subset of sex-specific events in C. elegans male development. Mutations in mab-3 have no apparent effect on hermaphrodites, but cause synthesis of yolk proteins and a limited lineage alteration in males. We infer that mab-3 has at least two distinct male-specific functions. First, mab-3 activity prevents yolk protein production by males, without affecting stage or tissue specificity of expression. Second, mab-3 activity is required for expression of the male V ray cell lineage. Epistasis analysis is most consistent with a model in which mab-3 is controlled by tra-1, the last switch gene known to act in the somatic sex determination pathway. We discuss how genes such as mab-3 might generate sexual dimorphism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis / growth & development
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Egg Proteins / genetics*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Genes, Regulator*
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sex Determination Analysis*
  • Stem Cells


  • Egg Proteins