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The reproductive cycle in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans depends in part on the ability of the mature oocyte to ovulate into the spermatheca, fuse with the sperm during fertilization, and then exit the spermatheca as a fertilized egg. This cycle requires the integration of signals between the germ cells and the somatic gonad and relies heavily on the precise control of inositol 1,4,5 triphosphate (IP3)levels. The HLH-29 protein, one of five Hairy/Enhancer of Split (HES) homologs in C. elegans, was previously shown to affect development of the somatic gonad. Here we show that HLH- 29 expression in the adult spermatheca is strongly localized to the distal spermatheca valve and to the spermatheca-uterine valve, and that loss of hlh-29 activity interferes with oocyte entry into and egg exit from the spermatheca. We show that HLH-29 can regulate the transcriptional activity of the IP3 signaling pathway genes ppk-1, ipp-5, and plc-1 and provide evidence that hlh-29 acts in a genetic pathway with each of these genes. We propose that the HES-like protein HLH-29 acts in the spermatheca of larval and adult animals to effectively increase IP3 levels during the reproductive cycle.


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Biol Open, 1 (3), 261-8, DOI: 10.1242/bio.2012046

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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