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The Homeotic Gene lin-39 and the Evolution of Nematode Epidermal Cell Fates

Science  17 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5337, pp. 452-455
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5337.452

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Abstract

The fate of ventral epidermal cells differs among nematode species. Nonvulval cells fuse with the epidermis in Caenorhabditis elegans, whereas the homologous cells undergo apoptosis inPristionchus pacificus. The homeotic gene lin-39is involved in the regulation of these epidermal cell fates. InCaenorhabditis, lin-39 prevents cell fusion of potential vulval cells and specifies the vulva equivalence group.Pristionchus vulvaless mutants that displayed apoptosis of the vulval precursor cells were isolated, and point mutations inlin-39 were identified. Thus, the evolution of these epidermal cell fates is driven by different intrinsic properties of homologous cells.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: sora{at}mailer1.mpib-tuebingen.mpg.de

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