Worm Breeder's Gazette 13(4): 85 (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-5 Encodes a Collagen Needed For Touch Sensitivity.

Guoqiang Gu, Chris William, Marty Chalfie

Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University in the City of New York, NY 10027

  mec-5 is one of the genes required for mechanosensitivity in C. elegans.
Although the touch receptor neurons do not function, they appear morphologically
normal in mec-5 mutants. Peanut-lectin binding to the touch cell mantle, however, is
absent (M. Chalfie and E. Hedgecock, unpublished data).
  By transformation rescue, we identified a 6.5 kb BamHI-KpnI fragment in
cosmid E03G2 which completely rescues the mec-5 phenotype. We isolated a 1.2 kb full
length cDNA (Northern blots show a 1.2 kb mRNA) from the Chris Martin cDNA
library. The cDNA sequence encodes a collagen. The protein (329 aa) has a 20 amino
acid putative signal sequence at the N-terminus and 69 Gly-X-Y repeats starting at aa
63. These collagen repeats are followed by 60 additional amino acids. Because
collagens are often glycosylated on hydroxyproline residues, the loss of MEC-5 may
explain the lack of peanut-lectin binding.
  To verify that this collagen gene is mec-5 ,we probed genomic Southern blots with
the 6.5 kb fragment and found that the 6.5 kb fragment was deleted in two mec-5
strains, the mut-2 derived strain TU828 and the gamma-ray strain TU1031 .We are
now sequencing other mec-5 mutations and characterizing the expression pattern.