Transcriptional regulator of programmed cell death encoded by Caenorhabditis elegans gene ces-2

Nature. 1996 Aug 8;382(6591):545-7. doi: 10.1038/382545a0.


The ces (for cell-death specification) genes of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans control the cell-death fate of individual cell types and are candidates for being the regulators of an evolutionarily conserved general pathway of programmed cell death. Here we present what we believe is the first molecular characterization of a ces gene. We cloned the gene ces-2, which is required to activate programmed cell death in the sister cells of the serotoninergic neurosecretory motor (NSM) neurons, and found that ces-2 encodes a basic region leucine-zipper (bZIP) transcription factor. The CES-2 protein is most similar to members of the PAR (proline- and acid-rich) subfamily of bZIP proteins and has DNA-binding specificity like that of PAR-family proteins. An oncogenic form of the mammalian PAR-family protein, hepatic leukaemia factor (HLF), is reported to effect programmed cell death in mammalian cells. On the basis of these observations, we suggest that some CES-2/PAR family transcription factors are evolutionary conserved regulators of programmed cell death.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Helminth
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Exons
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics*
  • Helminth Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Introns
  • Leucine Zippers
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Motor Neurons / cytology
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • CES-2 protein, C elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DNA, Helminth
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U60979