Worm Breeder's Gazette 14(5): 73 (February 1, 1997)

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.

unc-3 gene encodes the C elegans homologue of the mammalian transcription factor O/E-1

Brinda C. Prasad, Randall R. Reed

Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics Johns Hopkins School of Medicine 817 PCTB 725 N. Wolfe St. Baltimore MD 21205-2185

        The mammalian olfactory system utilizes specialized signal
transduction components to detect odors.  These olfactory genes contain
consensus sites for a family of trans-acting factors which includes
Olf-1/EBF (O/E-1).  The O/E-1 protein is expressed at high level in
adult olfactory neurons and transiently during embryogenesis in a
variety of other neuronal tissues.  The laboratory is actively trying to
understand the role of this family of transcription factors in mouse
neurodevelopment.  We have identified a C elegans homologue of the
mammalian O/E-1 protein.  We believe that the C elegans homologue of
O/E-1 (Ce O/E-1) is encoded by the unc-3 gene, mutations in which are
reported to cause all classes of motor neurons in the ventral cord to
have disorganized processes and make neuro-muscular junctions at ectopic
sites.  We have identified point mutations in the Ce O/E-1 coding region
for three unc-3 alleles. We have used GFP fusions to the promoter of the
Ce O/E-1 protein and specific antibodies to the protein to study the
pattern of expression. The Ce O/E-1 protein is expressed as early as
bean stage and continues to be expressed in the neurons of the ventral
cord and the ASI chemosensory neurons throughout development.  These
observations are consistent with a similar role for O/E proteins in both
mice and nematodes, i.e., these transcription factors play an essential
role in the determination of the terminal phenotype of neurons.