The modification of transcriptional regulation is a well-documented evolutionary mechanism in both plants and animals, but post-transcriptional controls have received less attention. The derived hermaphrodite of C. elegans has regulated spermatogenesis in an otherwise female body. PUF family RNA-binding proteins FBF-1 and FBF-2 limit XX spermatogenesis by repressing the male-promoting proteins FEM-3 and GLD-1. For my dissertation research, I examine the function of PUF homologs from other Caenorhabditis species, with emphasis on C. briggsae, which evolved selfing convergently. C. briggsae lacks a bona fide fbf-1/2 ortholog, but two members of the related PUF-2 subfamily, Cbr-puf-2 and Cbr-puf-1.2, do have a redundant germline sex determination role. Surprisingly, this is to promote, rather than limit, hermaphrodite spermatogenesis. I provide genetic, molecular, and biochemical evidence that Cbr-puf-2 and Cbr-puf-1.2 repress Cbr-gld-1 by a conserved mechanism. However, Cbr-gld-1 acts to limit, rather than promote, XX spermatogenesis. As with gld-1, no sex determination function for fbf or puf-2 orthologs is observed in gonochoristic Caenorhabditis. These results indicate that PUF family genes were coopted for sex determination in each hermaphrodite via their long-standing association with gld-1 , and that their precise sex-determining roles depend on the species-specific context in which they act. Finally, I document non-redundant roles for Cbr-puf-2 in several aspects of somatic development. I show Cbr-puf-2 is required for reliable embryonic development, and that it is essential for vulval development and normal progression from early larval stage. I provide evidence suggesting that this latter role is related to pharyngeal muscle physiology. Thus, recently duplicated PUF paralogs, while redundant for some roles, can also rapidly acquire distinct non-redundant functions. This is consistent with theoretical models for the preservation of gene duplicates.
|Advisor:||Haag, Eric S.|
|Commitee:||Bely, Alexandra, Jeffery, William R., Kocher, Thomas D., Liu, Zhongchi, Mount, Stephen M.|
|School:||University of Maryland, College Park|
|School Location:||United States -- Maryland|
|Source:||DAI-B 74/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Molecular biology, Genetics, Evolution and Development|
|Keywords:||Caenorhabditis, Evolution, Germ cells, Hermaphroditism, PUF proteins, Translation|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be