Autosomal genes of autosomal/X-linked duplicated gene pairs and germ-line proliferation in Caenorhabditis elegans

John Maciejowski, James Hyungsoo Ahn, Patricia Giselle Cipriani, Darrell J. Killian, Aisha L. Chaudhary, Inn Lee Ji, Roumen Voutev, Robert C. Johnsen, David L. Baillie, Kristin C. Gunsalus, David H A Fitch, E. Jane Albert Hubbard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report molecular genetic studies of three genes involved in early germ-line proliferation in Caenorhabditis elegans that lend unexpected insight into a germ-line/soma functional separation of autosomal/ X-linked duplicated gene pairs. In a genetic screen for germ-line proliferation-defective mutants, we identified mutations in rpl-11.1 (L11 protein of the large ribosomal subunit), pab-1 [a poly(A)-binding protein], and glp-3/eft-3 (an elongation factor 1-α homolog). All three are members of autosome/X gene pairs. Consistent with a germ-line-restricted function of rpl-11.1 and pab-1, mutations in these genes extend life span and cause gigantism. We further examined the RNAi phenotypes of the three sets of rpl genes (rpl-11, rpl-24, and rpl-25) and found that for the two rpl genes with autosomal/X-linked pairs (rpl-11 and rpl-25), zygotic germ-line function is carried by the autosomal copy. Available RNAi results for highly conserved autosomal/X-linked gene pairs suggest that other duplicated genes may follow a similar trend. The three rpl and the pab-1/2 duplications predate the divergence between C. elegans and C. briggsae, while the eft-3/4 duplication appears to have occurred in the lineage to C. elegans after it diverged from C. briggsae. The duplicated C. briggsae orthologs of the three C. elegans autosomal/X-linked gene pairs also display functional differences between paralogs. We present hypotheses for evolutionary mechanisms that may underlie germ-line/soma subfunctionalization of duplicated genes, taking into account the role of X chromosome silencing in the germ line and analogous mammalian phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1997-2011
Number of pages15
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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