Null mutations in the lin-31 gene indicate two ...

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Title Null mutations in the lin-31 gene indicate two functions during Caenorhabditis elegans vulval development
Author(s) Lisa M. Miller, H. A. Hess, D. B. Doroquez, N. M. Andrews
Journal Genetics
Date 2000
Volume 156
Issue 4
Start page 1595
End page 1602
Abstract The lin-31 gene is required for the proper specification of vulval cell fates in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and encodes a member of the winged-helix family of transcription factors. Members of this important family have been identified in many organisms and are known to bind specific DNA targets involved in a variety of developmental processes. DNA sequencing of 13 lin-31 alleles revealed six nonsense mutations and two missense mutations within the DNA-binding domain, plus three deletions, one transposon insertion, and one frameshift mutation that all cause large-scale disruptions in the gene. The missense mutations are amino acid substitutions in the DNA-binding domain and probably disrupt interactions of the LIN-31 transcription factor with its DNA target. In addition, detailed phenotypic analysis of all 19 alleles showed similar penetrances for several characteristics examined. From our analysis we conclude: (1) the null phenotype of lin-31 is the phenotype displayed by almost all of the existing alleles, (2) the DNA-binding domain plays a critical role in LIN-31 function, and (3) direct screens for multivulva and vulvaless mutants will probably yield only null (or strong) alleles of lin-31..

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