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The Caenorhabditis elegans maternal-effect sterile proteins, MES-2, MES-3, and MES-6, are associated in a complex in embryos.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publisher
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume
98
Issue
9
Pages
5061–5066
Source
UCSC Aging biomedical-ucsc
License
Unknown

Abstract

The Caenorhabditis elegans maternal-effect sterile genes, mes-2, mes-3, mes-4, and mes-6, encode nuclear proteins that are essential for germ-line development. They are thought to be involved in a common process because their mutant phenotypes are similar. MES-2 and MES-6 are homologs of Enhancer of zeste and extra sex combs, both members of the Polycomb group of chromatin regulators in insects and vertebrates. MES-3 is a novel protein, and MES-4 is a SET-domain protein. To investigate whether the MES proteins interact and likely function as a complex, we performed biochemical analyses on C. elegans embryo extracts. Results of immunoprecipitation experiments indicate that MES-2, MES-3, and MES-6 are associated in a complex and that MES-4 is not associated with this complex. Based on in vitro binding assays, MES-2 and MES-6 interact directly, via the amino terminal portion of MES-2. Sucrose density gradient fractionation and gel filtration chromatography were performed to determine the Stokes radius and sedimentation coefficient of the MES-2/MES-3/MES-6 complex. Based on those two values, we estimate that the molecular mass of the complex is approximately 255 kDa, close to the sum of the three known components. Our results suggest that the two C. elegans Polycomb group homologs (MES-2 and MES-6) associate with a novel partner (MES-3) to regulate germ-line development in C. elegans.

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