The synthetic multivulva (synMuv) genes negatively regulate Ras-mediated vulval induction in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The synMuv genes define three classes, A, B, and C, such that double mutants carrying mutations in genes of any two classes are multivulva. The class B synMuv genes include lin-35, a homolog of the retinoblastoma (Rb) tumor suppressor gene, as well as homologs of genes that function with Rb in transcriptional regulation. We screened for additional synMuv mutations using a strategy different from that of previous synMuv genetic screens. Some of the mutations we recovered affect new synMuv genes. We present criteria for assigning synMuv mutations into different genetic classes. We also describe the molecular characterization of the class B synMuv gene lin-65.
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