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Two Wrongs Make a Right: bli-1/rol-1 as a Model for Suppression

By Katherine Donches


Mutations are commonly thought of as maladaptive and disease causing; C. elegans independently mutant for the bli-1 and rol-1 genes exhibit severe full body blistering and immobilization respectively, that significantly reduce reproductive capability and ultimately kill the animal. In rare cases, however, the presence of multiple mutations improves, rather than impairs, an organism’s fitness. This genetic phenomenon, defined as suppression, can be observed in C. elegans mutant for both bli-1 and rol-1, and results from two ‘wrong’ genes making a ‘right’ by restoring the organism to the wildtype phenotype. Such double mutant worms rarely develop blisters and are therefore much healthier than their single mutant counterparts, evidenced by increased egg laying and longer life span. This suppression interaction between bli-1 and rol-1 is particularly interesting given the phenotypic severity of either mutation by itself. RNAi experiments assessing various gene interactions between bli-1 and other C. elegans cuticle genes provides valuable information regarding the mechanism underlying the suppression of blister formation in bli-1 mutants by rol-1 RNAi

Year: 2014
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