pop-1 encodes an HMG box protein required for the specification of a mesoderm precursor in early C. elegans embryos

Cell. 1995 Nov 17;83(4):599-609. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(95)90100-0.


In C. elegans embryogenesis, the MS blastomere produces predominantly mesodermal cell types, while its sister E generates only endodermal tissue. We show that a maternal gene, pop-1, is essential for the specification of MS fate and that a mutation in pop-1 results in MS adopting an E fate. Previous studies have shown that the maternal gene skn-1 is required for both MS and E development and that skn-1 encodes a transcription factor. We show here that the pop-1 gene encodes a protein with an HMG box similar to the HMG boxes in the vertebrate lymphoid-specific transcriptional regulators TCF-1 and LEF-1. We propose that POP-1 and SKN-1 function together in the early embryo to allow MS-specific differentiation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blastomeres / physiology
  • Caenorhabditis / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Genes, Helminth / genetics
  • Genes, Homeobox*
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / genetics*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Mesoderm / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Pharynx / embryology


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • High Mobility Group Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • pop-1 protein, C elegans

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U37532