Development of the Caenorhabditis elegans foregut (pharynx) is regulated by a network of proteins that includes the Retinoblastoma protein (pRb) ortholog LIN-35, the ubiquitin pathway components UBC-18 and ARI-1, and by PHA-1, a cytoplasmic protein. Loss of pha-1 activity impairs pharyngeal development and body morphogenesis, leading to embryonic arrest. We have used a genetic suppressor approach to dissect this complex pathway. The lethality of pha-1 mutants is suppressed by loss-of-function mutations in sup-35/ztf-21 and sup-37/ztf-12, which encode Zn-finger proteins, and by mutations in sup-36. Here we show that sup-36 encodes a divergent Skp1 family member that binds to several F-box proteins and the microtubule-associated protein PTL-1/tau. Like SUP-35, SUP-36 levels were negatively regulated by UBC-18–ARI-1. We also found that SUP-35 and SUP-37 physically associated and that SUP-35 could bind microtubules. Thus, SUP-35, SUP-36, and SUP-37 may function within a pathway or complex that includes cytoskeletal components. Additionally, SUP-36 may regulate the subcellular localization of SUP-35 during embryogenesis. We carried out a genome-wide RNAi screen to identify additional regulators of this network and identified 39 genes, most of which are associated with transcriptional regulation. Twenty-three of these genes acted via the LIN-35 pathway. In addition, several Skp1-Cullin-F-Box (SCF) components were identified, further implicating SCF complexes as part of the greater network controlling pharyngeal development.
- Received April 23, 2013.
- Accepted October 29, 2013.
- Copyright © 2013, The Genetics Society of America