PMID: 8692859Jun 25, 1996

Genetic interactions affecting touch sensitivity in Caenorhabditis elegans

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Guoqiang GuMartin Chalfie


At least 13 genes (mec-1, mec-2, mec-4-10, mec-12, mec-14, mec-15, and mec-18) are needed for the response to gentle touch by 6 touch receptor neurons in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Several, otherwise recessive alleles of some of these genes act as dominant enhancer mutations of temperature-sensitive alleles of mec-4, mec-5, mec-6, mec-12, and mec-15. Screens for additional dominant enhancers of mec-4 and mec-5 yielded mutations in previously known genes. In addition, some mec-7 alleles showed allele-specific, dominant suppression of the mec-15 touch-insensitive (Mec) phenotype. The dominant enhancement and suppression exhibited by these mutations suggest that the products of several touch genes interact. These results are consistent with a model, supported by the known sequences of these genes, that almost all of the touch function genes contribute to the mechanosensory apparatus.


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Related Concepts

Enhancer Elements, Genetic
Meissner's Corpuscle
Signal Transduction
Caenorhabditis elegans
Genes, Helminth

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