Control of C. elegans Larval Development by Neuronal Expression of a TGF-β Homolog

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Science  22 Nov 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5291, pp. 1389-1391
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5291.1389


The Caenorhabditis elegans dauer larva is specialized for dispersal without growth and is formed under conditions of overcrowding and limited food. The daf-7 gene, required for transducing environmental cues that support continuous development with plentiful food, encodes a transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily member. A daf-7 reporter construct is expressed in the ASI chemosensory neurons. Dauer-inducing pheromone inhibits daf-7 expression and promotes dauer formation, whereas food reactivates daf-7 expression and promotes recovery from the dauer state. When the food/pheromone ratio is high, the level of daf-7 mRNA peaks during the L1 larval stage, when commitment to non-dauer development is made.

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