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Leveraging the withered tail tip phenotype in C. elegans to identify proteins that influence membrane properties

Journal article
Authors Emma Svensk
Jana Biermann
Sofia Hammarsten
Fredrik Magnusson
Marc Pilon
Published in WORM
Volume 5
Issue 3
Pages e1206171
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages e1206171
Language en
Keywords AP2, C. elegans, forward genetics, iglr-2, membrane, paqr-2, spectrin
Subject categories Biological Sciences, Cell and molecular biology, Cell Biology


The properties of cellular membranes are critical for most cellular functions and are influenced by several parameters including phospholipid composition, integral and peripheral membrane proteins, and environmental conditions such as temperature. We previously showed that the C. elegans paqr-2 and iglr-2 mutants have a defect in membrane homeostasis and exhibit several distinct phenotypes, including a characteristic tail tip defect and cold intolerance. In the present study we report that screening for novel mutants with these 2 defects can lead to the identification of genes that are important contributors to membrane properties. In particular we isolated 3 novel alleles of sma-1, the C. elegans homolog of βH spectrin, and 2 novel alleles of dpy-23, which encodes the C. elegans homolog of the AP2 μ subunit. We also show that sma-1 and dpy-23 act on membrane properties in pathways distinct from that of paqr-2 and iglr-2.

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