Genome-wide analysis of sex-enriched gene expression during C. elegans larval development

Kara Thoemke, Woelsung Yi, Jennifer M. Ross, Shinseog Kim, Valerie Reinke, David A Zarkower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sex determination in C. elegans is controlled by the TRA-1 zinc finger protein, a Ci/GLI homolog that promotes female cell fates throughout the body. The regulatory hierarchy that controls TRA-1 is well established, but the downstream effectors that establish sexual dimorphism during larval development remain largely unknown. Here, we describe the use of cDNA microarrays to identify sex-enriched transcripts expressed during three stages of C. elegans larval development. By excluding previously identified germline-enriched transcripts, we focused on somatic sexual development. This approach identified a large number of sex-enriched transcripts that are good candidates to encode regulators of somatic sexual development. We found little overlap between genes with sex-enriched expression in early versus late larval development, indicating that distinct sexual regulatory programs operate at these times. Genes with sex-enriched expression are found throughout the genome, with no strong bias between autosomes and X chromosomes. Reporter gene analysis revealed that these genes are expressed in highly specific patterns in a variety of sexually dimorphic cells. We searched for TRA-1 consensus DNA binding sites near genes with sex-enriched expression, and found that most strongly sex-enriched mRNAs are likely to be regulated indirectly by TRA-1. These results suggest that TRA-1 controls sexual dimorphism through a small number of intermediary regulators rather than by acting directly on the full constellation of genes involved in sex-specific differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-508
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Volume284
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2005

Fingerprint

Genome
Gene Expression
Sexual Development
Genes
Sex Characteristics
Sex Differentiation
Zinc Fingers
X Chromosome
Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
Reporter Genes
Binding Sites
Messenger RNA
DNA
Proteins

Keywords

  • C. elegans
  • Sex determination
  • Sex-enriched
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • tra-1

Cite this

Genome-wide analysis of sex-enriched gene expression during C. elegans larval development. / Thoemke, Kara; Yi, Woelsung; Ross, Jennifer M.; Kim, Shinseog; Reinke, Valerie; Zarkower, David A.

In: Developmental Biology, Vol. 284, No. 2, 15.08.2005, p. 500-508.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Thoemke, Kara ; Yi, Woelsung ; Ross, Jennifer M. ; Kim, Shinseog ; Reinke, Valerie ; Zarkower, David A. / Genome-wide analysis of sex-enriched gene expression during C. elegans larval development. In: Developmental Biology. 2005 ; Vol. 284, No. 2. pp. 500-508.
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