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The promotion of gonadal cell divisions by the Caenorhabditis elegans TRPM cation channel GON-2 is antagonized by GEM-4 copine.

  • Diane L Church
  • Eric J Lambie
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2003
  • Biology


The initiation of postembryonic cell divisions by the gonadal precursors of C. elegans requires the activity of gon-2. gon-2 encodes a predicted cation channel (GON-2) of the TRPM subfamily of TRP proteins and is likely to mediate the influx of Ca(2+) and/or Mg(2+). We report here that mutations in gem-4 (gon-2 extragenic modifier) are capable of suppressing loss-of-function alleles of gon-2. gem-4 encodes a member of the copine family of Ca(2+)-dependent phosphatidylserine binding proteins. Overall, our data indicate that GEM-4 antagonizes GON-2. This antagonism could be mediated by a direct inhibition of GON-2 by GEM-4, since both proteins are predicted to be localized to the plasma membrane. Alternatively, GEM-4 could affect GON-2 activity levels by either promoting endocytosis or inhibiting exocytosis of vesicles that carry GON-2. It is also possible that GEM-4 and GON-2 act in parallel to each other. Mutation of gem-4 does not suppress the gonadal defects produced by inactivation of gon-4, suggesting that gon-4 either acts downstream of gem-4 and gon-2 or acts in a parallel regulatory pathway.

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