Extracellular proteins needed for C. elegans mechanosensation.

Du H, Gu G, William CM, Chalfie M
Neuron. 1996 16 (1): 183-94

PMID: 8562083 · DOI:10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80035-5

The mec-5 and mec-9 genes encode putative extracellular proteins that allow a set of six touch receptor neurons in C. elegans to respond to gentle touch. MEC-5 is a collagen made by the epidermal cells that surround the touch cells. Mutations causing touch insensitivity affect the Gly-X-Y repeats of this collagen. mec-9 produces two transcripts, the larger of which is expressed in the touch cells and two PVD neurons. This transcript encodes a protein with 5 Kunitz-type protease inhibitor domains, 6 EGF-like repeats (2 of the Ca(2+)-binding type), and a glutamic acid-rich region. Missense mutations causing touch insensitivity affect both the EGF-like and Kunitz domains. Since mec-9 loss of function mutations dominantly enhance the touch insensitive phenotype of several mec-5 mutations, MEC-5 and MEC-9 may interact. We propose that these proteins provide an extracellular attachment point for the mechanosensory channels of the touch cells.

MeSH Terms (24)

Amino Acid Sequence Animals Base Sequence Caenorhabditis elegans Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins Collagen Epistasis, Genetic Extracellular Matrix Extracellular Matrix Proteins Fluorescent Dyes Genes, Helminth Genes, Recessive Genes, Reporter Helminth Proteins Mechanoreceptors Molecular Sequence Data Mutagenesis, Site-Directed Neurons, Afferent Protein Structure, Tertiary Recombinant Fusion Proteins Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid Sequence Alignment Sequence Homology, Amino Acid Touch

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