The novel C. elegans gene sop-3 modulates Wnt signaling to regulate Hox gene expression

H. Zhang, S. W. Emmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We describe the properties of a new gene, sop-3, that is required for the regulated expression of a C. elegans Hox gene, egl-5, in a postembryonic neuroectodermal cell lineage. Regulated expression of egl-5 in this cell lineage is necessary for development of the sensory rays of the male tail. sop-3 encodes a predicted novel protein of 1475 amino acids without clear homologs in other organisms. However, the sequence contains motifs consisting of homopolymeric runs of amino acids found in several other transcriptional regulators, some of which also act in Hox gene regulatory pathways. The genetic properties of sop-3 are very similar to those of sop-1, which encodes a component of the transcriptional Mediator complex, and mutations in the two genes are synthetic lethal. This suggests that SOP-3 may act at the level of the Mediator complex in regulating transcription initiation. In a sop-3 loss-of-function background, egl-5 is expressed ectopically in lineage branches that normally do not express this gene. Such expression is dependent on the Hox gene mab-5, as it is in branches where egl-5 is normally expressed. Ectopic egl-5 expression is also dependent on the Wnt pathway. Thus, sop-3 contributes to the combinatorial control of egl-5 by blocking egl-5 activation by MAB-5 and the Wnt pathway in inappropriate lineage branches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-777
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


  • C. elegans
  • Homeobox gene
  • Regulation
  • Sop-3
  • Transcription
  • Wnt signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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