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Genetics 1996 Jul;143(3):1193-205

Genetic analysis of the roles of daf-28 and age-1 in regulating Caenorhabditis elegans dauer formation.

Malone EA, Inoue T, Thomas JH

Department of Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.

Based on environmental cues, the nervous system of Caenorhabditis elegans regulates formation of the dauer larva, an alternative larval form specialized for long-term survival under harsh conditions. Mutations that cause constitutive or defective dauer formation (Daf-c or Daf-d) have been identified and the genes ordered in a branched pathway. Most Daf-c mutations also affect recovery from the dauer stage. The semi-dominant mutation daf-28(sa191) is Daf-c but has no apparent effect on dauer recovery. We use this unique aspect of daf-28(sa191) to characterize the effects of several Daf-d and synthetic Daf-c mutations on dauer recovery. We present double mutant analysis that indicates that daf-28(sa191) acts at a novel point downstream in the genetic pathway for dauer formation. We also show that daf-28(sa191) causes a modest increase (12-13%) in life span. The phenotypes and genetic interactions of daf-28(sa191) are most similar to those of daf-2 and daf-23 mutations, which also cause a dramatic increase in life span. We present mapping and complementation data that suggest that daf-23 is the same gene as age-1, identified previously by mutations that extend life span. We find that age-1 alleles are also Daf-c at 27 degrees.