Comparative genetic, proteomic and phosphoproteomic analysis of C. elegans embryos with a focus on ham-1/STOX and pig-1/MELK in dopaminergic neuron development

Sarah-Lena Offenburger, Dalila Bensaddek, Alejandro Brenes Murillo, Angus I. Lamond, Anton Gartner (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Asymmetric cell divisions are required for cellular diversity and defects can lead to altered daughter cell fates and numbers. In a genetic screen for C. elegans mutants with defects in dopaminergic head neuron specification or differentiation, we isolated a new allele of the transcription factor ham-1 [HSN (hermaphrodite-specific neurons) abnormal migration]. Loss of both ham-1 and its target, the kinase pig-1 [PAR-1 (I)-like gene], leads to abnormal dopaminergic head neuron numbers. We identified discrete genetic relationships between ham-1, pig-1 and apoptosis pathway genes in dopaminergic head neurons. We used an unbiased, quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics approach to characterise direct and indirect protein targets and pathways that mediate the effects of pig-1 kinase loss in C. elegans embryos. Proteins showing changes in either abundance, or phosphorylation levels, between wild-type and pig-1 mutant embryos are predominantly connected with processes including cell cycle, asymmetric cell division, apoptosis and actomyosinregulation. Several of these proteins play important roles in C. elegans development. Our data provide an in-depth characterisation of the C. elegans wild-type embryo proteome and phosphoproteome and can be explored via the Encyclopedia of Proteome Dynamics (EPD) – an open access, searchable online database.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4314
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2017


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Cell proliferation
  • Development
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Proteomics

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