Worm Breeder's Gazette 13(4): 83 (October 1, 1994)

These abstracts should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.

mec-2: A Putative Regulator of Membrane Permeability.

Mingxia Huang, Marty Chalfie

Dept. of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York

  The mec-2 gene was initially isolated in genetic screens for genes required for
touch cell function. The wild-type activity of mec-2 is also needed for mec-10
-causedtouch cell degeneration, suggesting that it may regulate the putative
mechanosensory channel complex formed by the gene products of mec-10 , mec-4 ,and
mec-6 (1).
  We cloned the mec-2 gene by transposon-tagging and germline rescue of the
mutant phenotype. The rescuing activity was first identified in cosmid W05G12 and
further minimized to a 17 kb genomic fragment. Several cDNAs were found from
mixed-stage libraries constructed by Chris Martin and by Pete Okkema. The longest
cDNA (1.8 kb) seems to contain a full-length open reading frame of 440 amino acids
that are overall very hydrophilic and highly charged except for a 28 amino acids
hydrophobic domain near the N-terminus. The mec-2 gene appears to be alternatively
spliced and some of the pre-mRNAs are not efficiently processed (RT-PCR produced
some cDNAs that contained introns). The mec-2 cDNAs hybridize to several bands on
Northern blots of N2 polyA+ RNAs at high stringency (a broad band at 1.8 kb and a
weak band between 3 and 4 kb). The larger mRNA is more intense in Northerns of
mec-8 ( e398 ).Thus, a mec-2 transcript may be a substrate of the putative
RNA-binding factor mec-8 (E. Lundquist and R. Herman, per. comm.).