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Developmental expression patterns of genes predicted by the C. elegans genome sequencing project

Developmental expression patterns of genes predicted by the C. elegans genome sequencing project
Andrew Sean Lynch


Department of Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UNITED KINGDOM.


The recent progress in the sequencing of entire genomes has identified many novel genes, many of which have no further description. Knowledge of gene expression pattern is one facet of a gene’s description which can lead to functional insights. The work presented ere aimed to describe the patterns of expression of novel genes identified by genome sequencing of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

Gene 5’ ends were used to generate translational fusions to the lacZ reporter gene, and the resultant lacZ fusion expression pattern observed in situ. 45 fusions were made, of which 24 were active. The observed patterns of expression, even when the responsible gene was not homologous to a functionally characterised gene, suggested functional possibilities for many genes. The lacZ fusion for the gene ZK637.8 exhibited expression specific to the gut lineage in early embryos suggesting that it may be involved in developmental processes. The promoter region of ZK637.8 was subject to further investigation and a region necessary for embryonic expression was identified.

The data, plasmids and nematode strains generated by this project represent a resource which will be valuable to the C. elegans research community as a whole. Two means of allowing public access to the data were developed; one utilising the internet, the other incorporating the data into the widely used C. elegans database, ACeDB.