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Caenorhabditis elegans unc-51 gene required for axonal elongation encodes a novel serine/threonine kinase.

Mutations in the unc-51 gene of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans result in various abnormalities in axonal elongation and axonal structures. We cloned the unc-51 gene by tagging with the transposon Tc1. The wild-type unc-51 gene, which rescued the mutant phenotypes, encodes a novel serine/threonine kinase of 856 amino acids. Mutation sites were identified in the unc-51 gene of six mutants. A Lys-->Met mutation created in vitro in the kinase domain led to the loss of rescuing activity and was dominant negative, indicating that the kinase domain of Unc-51 is essential for the function. Expression of an unc-51/lacZ fusion gene was observed in many neurons at all stages. We propose that protein phosphorylation by the unc-51 product is important for axonal elongation and possibly for axonal guidance.

Pubmed ID: 7958904


  • Ogura K
  • Wicky C
  • Magnenat L
  • Tobler H
  • Mori I
  • Müller F
  • Ohshima Y


Genes & development

Publication Data

October 15, 1994

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Axons
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA, Helminth
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Net
  • Point Mutation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sequence Tagged Sites