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      Posterior patterning by the Caenorhabditis elegans even-skipped homolog vab-7.

      Genes & development

      Transcription Factors, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid, Sequence Alignment, biosynthesis, RNA, Messenger, RNA, Helminth, Mutation, embryology, Muscles, Molecular Sequence Data, Microscopy, Video, physiology, genetics, chemistry, Homeodomain Proteins, Helminth Proteins, Genes, Helminth, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Epidermis, Drosophila Proteins, Drosophila, DNA, Complementary, Cloning, Molecular, Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins, Caenorhabditis elegans, Base Sequence, Bacterial Proteins, Animals, Amino Acid Sequence

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          Patterning of the posterior end in animals is not well understood. Homologs of Drosophila even-skipped (eve) have a similar posterior expression pattern in many animals, and in vertebrates they are linked physically to the "posterior" ends of homeotic clusters (HOM-C), suggesting a conserved role in posterior development. However, the function of this posterior expression is not known. Here I show that the Caenorhabditis elegans gene vab-7 encodes an eve homolog that is required for posterior development and expressed in a pattern strikingly similar to that of vertebrate eve genes. Using a four-dimensional recording system, I found that posterior body muscles and the posterior epidermis are patterned abnormally in vab-7 mutants, but commitment to muscle and epidermal fates is normal. Furthermore, vab-7 activity is required for the complete expression of the most posterior HOM-C gene egl-5 in muscle cells, supporting the idea that eve homologs may act with the HOM-C to determine posterior cell fates. The conservation of sequence and expression pattern between vab-7 and eve homologs in other animals argues that most eve genes have posterior mesodermal and ectodermal patterning functions.

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