Identifying the Caenorhabditis elegans vulval transcriptome

Qi Zhang, Heather Hrach, Marco Mangone, David J. Reiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Development of the Caenorhabditis elegans vulva is a classic model of organogenesis. This system, which starts with 6 equipotent cells, encompasses diverse types of developmental event, including developmental competence, multiple signaling events to control precise and faithful patterning of three cell fates, execution and proliferation of specific cell lineages, and a series of sophisticated morphogenetic events. Early events have been subjected to extensive mutational and genetic investigations and later events to cell biological analyses. We infer the existence of dramatically changing profiles of gene expression that accompanies the observed changes in development. Yet, except from serendipitous discovery of several transcription factors expressed in dynamic patterns in vulval lineages, our knowledge of the transcriptomic landscape during vulval development is minimal. This study describes the composition of a vulva-specific transcriptome. We used tissue-specific harvesting of mRNAs via immunoprecipitation of epitope-tagged poly(A) binding protein, PAB-1, heterologously expressed by a promoter known to express GFP in vulval cells throughout their development. The identified transcriptome was small but tightly interconnected. From this data set, we identified several genes with identified functions in development of the vulva and validated more with promoter-GFP reporters of expression. For one target, lag-1, promoter-GFP expression was limited but a fluorescent tag of the endogenous protein revealed extensive expression. Thus, we have identified a transcriptome of C. elegans vulval lineages as a launching pad for exploration of functions of these genes in organogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberjkac091
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • F27A3.4
  • lag-1
  • lin-31
  • mbl-1
  • shc-1
  • toe-1
  • vulval transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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