fog-2, a germ-line-specific sex determination gene required for hermaphrodite spermatogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans.
This paper describes the isolation and characterization of 16 mutations in the germ-line sex determination gene fog-2 (fog for feminization of the germ line). In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans there are normally two sexes, self-fertilizing hermaphrodites (XX) and males (XO). Wild-type XX animals are hermaphrodite in the germ line (spermatogenesis followed by oogenesis), and female in the soma. fog-2 loss-of-function mutations transform XX animals into females while XO animals are unaffected. Thus, wild-type fog-2 is necessary for spermatogenesis in hermaphrodites but not males. The fem genes and fog-1 are each essential for specification of spermatogenesis in both XX and XO animals. fog-2 acts as a positive regulator of the fem genes and fog-1. The tra-2 and tra-3 genes act as negative regulators of the fem genes and fog-1 to allow oogenesis. Two models are discussed for how fog-2 might positively regulate the fem genes and fog-1 to permit spermatogenesis; fog-2 may act as a negative regulator of tra-2 and tra-3, or fog-2 may act positively on the fem genes and fog-1 rendering them insensitive to the negative action of tra-2 and tra-3.