Transcriptional repression by the Caenorhabditis elegans germ-line protein PIE-1

Ceri Batchelder, Melanie A. Dunn, Bob Choy, Yong Suh, Conrad Cassie, Eun Yong Shim, Tae Ho Shin, Craig Mello, Geraldine Seydoux, T. Keith Blackwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


In the early Caenorhabditis elegans embryo, maternally expressed PIE-1 protein is required in germ-line blastomeres to inhibit somatic differentiation, maintain an absence of mRNA transcription, and block phosphorylation of the RNA polymerase II large subunit (Pol II) carboxy- terminal domain (CTD). We have determined that PIE-1 can function as a transcriptional repressor in cell culture assays. By fusing PIE-1 sequences to the yeast GAL4 DNA-binding domain, we have identified a PIE-1 repression domain that appears to inhibit the transcriptional machinery directly. A sequence element that is required for this repressor activity is similar to the Pol II CTD heptapeptide repeat, suggesting that the PIE-1 repression domain might target a protein complex that can bind the CTD. An alteration of this sequence element that blocks repression also impairs the ability of a transgene to rescue a pie-1 mutation, suggesting that this repressor activity may be important for PIE-1 function in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-212
Number of pages11
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • C. elegans
  • Germ line
  • RNA Pol II CTD
  • Repression
  • Transcription
  • Zinc finger

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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