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1.  Proteomic analysis uncovers a metabolic phenotype in C. elegans after nhr-40 reduction of function 
C. elegans has an unexpectedly large number (284) of genes encoding nuclear hormone receptors, most of which are nematode-specific and are of unknown function. We have exploited comparative two-dimensional chromatography of synchronized cultures of wild type C. elegans larvae and a mutant in nhr-40 to determine if proteomic approaches will provide additional insight into gene function. Chromatofocusing, followed by reversed-phase chromatography and mass spectrometry, identified altered chromatographic patterns for a set of proteins, many of which function in muscle and metabolism. Prompted by the proteomic analysis, we find that the penetrance of the developmental phenotypes in the mutant is enhanced at low temperatures and by food restriction. The combination of our phenotypic and proteomic analysis strongly suggests that NHR-40 provides a link between metabolism and muscle development. Our results highlight the utility of comparative two-dimensional chromatography to provide a relatively rapid method to gain insight into gene function.
PMCID: PMC3418689  PMID: 18616929
Nuclear hormone receptors; Caenorhabditis elegans; NHR-40; transcription; development; muscle; chromatography
2.  Diversification of fasting regulated transcription in a cluster of duplicated nuclear hormone receptors in C. elegans 
Gene expression patterns : GEP  2010;10(6):227-236.
The genome of C. elegans encodes more than 280 nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs) in contrast to the 48 NHRs in humans and 18 NHRs in Drosophila. The majority of the C. elegans NHRs are categorized as supplementary nuclear receptors (supnrs) that evolved by successive duplications of a single ancestral gene. The evolutionary pressures that lead to the expansion of NHRs in nematodes, as well as the function of the majority of supnrs, are not known. Here, we have studied the expression of seven genes organized in a cluster on chromosome V: nhr-206, nhr-208, nhr-207, nhr-209, nhr-154, nhr-153 and nhr-136. Reverse transcription – quantitative PCR and analyses using transgenic lines carrying GFP fusion genes with their putative promoters revealed that all seven genes of this cluster are expressed and five have partially overlapping expression patterns including in the pharynx, intestine, certain neurons, the anal sphincter muscle, and male specific cells. Four genes in this cluster are conserved between C. elegans and C. briggsae whereas three genes are present only in C. elegans, the apparent result of a relatively recent expansion. Interestingly, we find that a subset of the conserved and non-conserved genes in this cluster respond transcriptionally to fasting in tissue-specific patterns. Our results reveal the diversification of the temporal, spatial, and metabolic gene expression patterns coupled with evolutionary drift within supnr family members.
PMCID: PMC2910203  PMID: 20460175
Caenorhabditis elegans; Caenorhabditis briggsae; nuclear hormone receptor; gene expression; fasting

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