Inhibition of touch cell fate by egl-44 and egl-46 in C. elegans

Ji Wu, Anne Duggan, Martin Chalfie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In wild-type Caenorhabditis elegans, six cells develop as receptors for gentle touch. In egl-44 and egl-46 mutants, two other neurons, the FLP cells, express touch receptor-like features, egl-44 and egl-46 also affect the differentiation of other neurons including the HSN neurons, two cells needed for egg laying. egl-44 encodes a member of the transcription enhancer factor family. The product of the egl-46 gene, two Drosophila proteins, and two proteins in human and mice define a new family of zinc finger proteins. Both egl-44 and egl-46 are expressed in FLP and HSN neurons (and other cells); expression of egl-46 is dependent on egl-44 in the FLP cells but not in the HSN cells. Wild-type touch cells express egl-46 but not egl-44. Moreover, ectopic expression of egl-44 in the touch cells prevents touch cell differentiation in an egl-46-dependent manner. The sequences of these genes and their nuclear location as seen with GFP fusions indicate that they repress transcription of touch cell characteristics in the FLP cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)789-802
Number of pages14
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2001


  • Cell differentiation
  • Combinatorial control
  • TEF
  • Transcriptional control
  • Zinc finger proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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