Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Post-transcriptional regulation of sex determination in Caenorhabditis elegans: widespread expression of the sex-determining gene fem-1 in both sexes.

By J Gaudet, I VanderElst and A M Spence


The fem-1 gene of C. elegans is one of three genes required for all aspects of male development in the nematode. Current models of sex determination propose that the products of the fem genes act in a novel signal-transduction pathway and that their activity is regulated primarily at the post-translational level in somatic tissues. We analyzed the expression of fem-1 to determine whether it revealed any additional levels of regulation. Both XX hermaphrodites and XO males express fem-1 at approximately constant levels throughout development. Somatic tissues in hermaphrodites adopt female fates, but they nonetheless express fem-1 mRNA and FEM-1 protein, suggesting that the regulation of fem-1 activity is post-transcriptional and probably post-translational. A compact promoter directs functional expression of fem-1 transgenes, as assayed by their masculinizing activity in fem-1 mutants. Activity also requires any two or more introns, suggesting that splicing may enhance fem-1 expression. The minimal noncoding sequences required for activity of fem-1 transgenes suffice to direct expression of a fem-1::lacZ reporter gene in all somatic tissues in both sexes. Many fem-1 transgenes, including those that rescue male somatic development in fem-1 mutants, paradoxically feminize the germline. We suggest that they do so by interfering with the germline expression of the endogenous fem-1 gene

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1996
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
Sorry, our data provider has not provided any external links therefore we are unable to provide a link to the full text.

Suggested articles

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.