As part of a general study of genes specifying a pattern of muscle attachments, we identified and genetically characterised mutants in the mup-1 gene. The body wall muscles of early stage mup-1 embryos have a wild-type myofilament pattern but may extend ectopic processes. Later in embryogenesis, some body wall muscles detach from the hypodermis. Genetic analysis suggests that mup-1 has both a maternal and a zygotic component and is not required for postembryonic muscle growth and attachment. mup-1 mutants are suppressed by mutations in several genes that encode extracellular matrix components. We propose that mup-1 may encode a cell surface/extracellular matrix molecule required both for the positioning of body wall muscle attachments in early embryogenesis and the subsequent maintenance of these attachments to the hypodermis until after cuticle synthesis.

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