Conservation of function and expression of unc-119 from two Caenorhabditis species despite divergence of non-coding DNA

Gene. 1996 Dec 12;183(1-2):77-85. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(96)00491-x.


The Caenorhabditis briggsae homologue of the Caenorhabditis elegans neuronal gene unc-119 has been cloned by low-stringency hybridization. Genomic clones containing the C. briggsae gene are able to completely rescue the unc-119 phenotype in transgenic C. elegans mutants. The open reading frame (ORF) of the predicted C. briggsae cDNA is 90% identical to that of C. elegans. Although the splice donor and acceptor sites are conserved, the untranslated regions, and the introns, differ greatly. For this gene, the average intron size in C. elegans is over 600 base pairs (bp); in C. briggsae it is only 113 bp. Their upstream control regions share limited sequence similarities; however, reporter gene fusions of the two species show strongly similar expression in C. elegans. These results are consistent with the maintenance not only of the function of the unc-119 gene but also the transcriptional control of the gene through tens of millions of years of evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Conserved Sequence / genetics*
  • DNA, Helminth / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • Genes, Helminth / genetics
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics*
  • Introns / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid / genetics
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • beta-Galactosidase / genetics


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DNA, Helminth
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • UNC-119 protein, C elegans
  • beta-Galactosidase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U45326