Mutations in the mec-8 gene of Caenorhabditis elegans were previously shown to affect the functions of body wall muscle and mechanosensory and chemosensory neurons. Mutations in mec-8 also strongly enhance the mutant phenotype of specific mutations in unc-52, a gene that encodes, via alternative splicing of pre-mRNA, a set of basement membrane proteins, homologs of perlecan, that are important for body wall muscle assembly and attachment to basement membrane, hypodermis and cuticle. We have cloned mec-8 and found that it encodes a protein with two RNA recognition motifs, characteristic of RNA binding proteins. We have used reverse transcription-PCR and RNase protection experiments to show that mec-8 regulates the accumulation of a specific subset of alternatively spliced unc-52 transcripts. We have also shown with antibodies to UNC-52 that mec-8 affects the abundance of a subset of UNC-52 isoforms. We propose that mec-8 encodes a trans-acting factor that regulates the alternative splicing of the pre-mRNA of unc-52 and one or more additional genes that affect mechanosensory and chemosensory neuron function.
The mec-8 gene of C. elegans encodes a protein with two RNA recognition motifs and regulates alternative splicing of unc-52 transcripts
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E.A. Lundquist, R.K. Herman, T.M. Rogalski, G.P. Mullen, D.G. Moerman, J.E. Shaw; The mec-8 gene of C. elegans encodes a protein with two RNA recognition motifs and regulates alternative splicing of unc-52 transcripts. Development 1 May 1996; 122 (5): 1601–1610. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.122.5.1601
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