Evidence for parallel processing of sensory information controlling dauer formation in Caenorhabditis elegans

Genetics. 1993 Aug;134(4):1105-17.


Dauer formation in Caenorhabditis elegans is induced by chemosensation of high levels of a constitutively secreted pheromone. Seven genes defined by mutations that confer a dauer-formation constitutive phenotype (Daf-c) can be congruently divided into two groups by any of three criteria. Group 1 genes (daf-11 and daf-21) are (1) strongly synergistic with group 2 genes for their Daf-c phenotype, (2) incompletely suppressed by dauer-formation defective (Daf-d) mutations in the genes daf-3 and daf-5 and (3) strongly suppressed by Daf-d mutations in nine genes that affect the structure of chemosensory endings. Group 2 genes (daf-1, daf-4, daf-7, daf-8 and daf-14) are (1) strongly synergistic with group 1 genes for their Daf-c phenotype, (2) fully suppressed by Daf-d mutations in daf-3 and daf-5 and (3) not suppressed by Daf-d mutations in the nine genes that affect chemosensory ending structure. Mutations in each group of genes also cause distinct additional behavioral defects. We propose that these two groups of Daf-c genes act in parallel pathways that process sensory information. The two pathways are partially redundant with each other and normally act in concert to control dauer formation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Larva / physiology
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Phenotype
  • Pheromones / physiology*
  • Suppression, Genetic


  • Pheromones