A forward genetic screen for Caenorhabditis elegans pharyngeal gland cell defects and characterization of mutagenized strains with a homozygous viable gland cell under migration

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Tkachuk, Stephanie
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Caenorhabditis elegans is a powerful genetic tool to study development. The pharynx is a neuromuscular organ of the upper digestive tract used to study how cells regulate their shape and movements during development. In the embryo, a receptor tyrosine kinase-like receptor (ROR), cam-1, is necessary for a single dorsal gland cell to migrate through the pharynx. A mutagenesis screen to isolate factors that may work with cam-1 examined 4,986 haploid genomes and isolated 60 strains with gland cell defects. Snip-SNP mapping placed one strain on the first chromosome, seven strains on the fourth, and one strain on the X chromosome. Complementation crosses and whole genome sequencing identified the LG IV mutations as cwn-2, a Wnt ligand, and ham-1, a storkhead box factor. The mutations on LG I and X require further testing to confirm the causative lesion. ham-1 RNAi in the cam-1 null background suggests that ham-1 and cam-1 function in different genetic pathways.
Developmental biology, Caenorhabditis elegans, Organ development, Pharynx foregut, Gland cells, Molecular genetics