A Conserved RNA-binding Protein That Regulates Sexual Fates in the C. Elegans Hermaphrodite Germ Line

Nature. 1997 Dec 4;390(6659):477-84. doi: 10.1038/37297.

Abstract

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has two sexes, males and hermaphrodites. Hermaphrodites Initially produce sperm but switch to producing oocytes. This switch appears to be controlled by the 3' untranslated region of fem-3 messenger RNA. We have now identified a binding factor (FBF) which is a cytoplasmic protein that binds specifically to the regulatory region of fem-3 3'UTR and mediates the sperm/oocyte switch. The RNA-binding domain of FBF consists of a stretch of eight tandem repeats and two short flanking regions. This structural element is conserved in several proteins including Drosophila Pumilio, a regulatory protein that controls pattern formation in the fly by binding to a 3'UTR. We propose that FBF and Pumilio are members of a widespread family of sequence-specific RNA-binding proteins.

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
  • Biological Evolution
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Disorders of Sex Development / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Helminth Proteins / chemistry
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics
  • Helminth Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oogenesis / genetics
  • Oogenesis / physiology*
  • RNA, Helminth / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Sex Differentiation / physiology*
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics
  • Spermatogenesis / physiology*

Substances

  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • RNA, Helminth
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • fem-3 protein, C elegans
  • fem-3-binding protein, C elegans
  • pum protein, Drosophila