Genetic interactions affecting touch sensitivity in Caenorhabditis elegans

Academic Article


  • At least 13 genes (mec-1, mec-2, mec-4-10, mec-12, mec-14, mec-15, and mec-18) are needed for the response to gentle touch by 6 touch receptor neurons in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Several, otherwise recessive alleles of some of these genes act as dominant enhancer mutations of temperature-sensitive alleles of mec-4, mec-5, mec-6, mec-12, and mec-15. Screens for additional dominant enhancers of mec-4 and mec-5 yielded mutations in previously known genes. In addition, some mec-7 alleles showed allele-specific, dominant suppression of the mec-15 touch-insensitive (Mec) phenotype. The dominant enhancement and suppression exhibited by these mutations suggest that the products of several touch genes interact. These results are consistent with a model, supported by the known sequences of these genes, That almost all of the touch function genes contribute to the mechanosensory apparatus.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Gu G; Caldwell GA; Chalfie M
  • Start Page

  • 6577
  • End Page

  • 6782
  • Volume

  • 93
  • Issue

  • 13