Analysis of PHA-1 Reveals a Limited Role in Pharyngeal Development and Novel Functions in Other Tissues
Aleksandra Kuzmanov, John Yochem, David S. Fay


PHA-1 encodes a cytoplasmic protein that is required for embryonic morphogenesis and attachment of the foregut (pharynx) to the mouth (buccal capsule). Previous reports have in some cases suggested that PHA-1 is essential for the differentiation of most or all pharyngeal cell types. By performing mosaic analysis with a recently acquired pha-1 null mutation (tm3671), we found that PHA-1 is not required within most or all pharyngeal cells for their proper specification, differentiation, or function. Rather, our evidence suggests that PHA-1 acts in the arcade or anterior epithelial cells of the pharynx to promote attachment of the pharynx to the future buccal capsule. In addition, PHA-1 appears to be required in the epidermis for embryonic morphogenesis, in the excretory system for osmoregulation, and in the somatic gonad to for normal ovulation and fertility. PHA-1 activity is also required within at least a subset of intestinal cells for viability. To better understand the role of PHA-1 in the epidermis, we analyzed several apical junction markers in pha-1(tm3671) homozygous embryos. PHA-1 regulates the expression of several components of two apical junction complexes including AJM-1–DLG-1/discs large complex and the classical cadherin-catenin complex, which may account for the role of PHA-1 in embryonic morphogenesis.

  • Received June 3, 2014.
  • Accepted June 30, 2014.