Uncovering buffered pleiotropy: A genome-scale screen for mel-28 genetic interactors in caenorhabditis elegans

Anita G. Fernandez, Emily K. Mis, Allison Lai, Michael Mauro, Angela Quental, Carly Bock, Fabio Piano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


mel-28 (maternal-effect-lethal-28) encodes a conserved protein required for nuclear envelope function and chromosome segregation in Caenorhabditis elegans. Because mel-28 is a strict maternal-effect lethal gene, its function is required in the early embryo but appears to be dispensable for larval development. We wanted to test the idea that mel-28 has postembryonic roles that are buffered by the contributions of other genes. To find genes that act coordinately with mel-28, we did an RNA interference2based genetic interaction screen using mel-28 and wild-type larvae. We screened 18,364 clones and identified 65 genes that cause sterility in mel-28 but not wild-type worms. Some of these genes encode components of the nuclear pore. In addition we identified genes involved in dynein and dynactin function, vesicle transport, and cell-matrix attachments. By screening mel-28 larvae we have bypassed the requirement for mel-28 in the embryo, uncovering pleiotropic functions for mel-28 later in development that are normally provided by other genes. This work contributes toward revealing the gene networks that underlie cellular processes and reveals roles for a maternal-effect lethal gene later in development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-196
Number of pages12
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • C. elegans
  • Germline
  • Gonad
  • Synthetic sterility
  • mel-28

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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