Copulation in C. elegans males requires a nuclear hormone receptor

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.


In Caenorhabditis elegans, uncoordinated (unc)-55 encodes a nuclear hormone receptor that is necessary for coordinated movement and male mating. An unc-55 reporter gene revealed a sexually dimorphic pattern: early in post-embryonic motor neurons in both sexes; and later in a subset of male-specific cells that included an interneuron and eight muscle cells. A behavioral analysis coupled with RNA interference (RNAi) revealed that males require UNC-55 to execute copulatory motor programs. Two mRNA isoforms (unc-55a and unc-55b) were detected throughout post-embryonic development in males, whereas only one, unc-55a, was detected in hermaphrodites. In unc-55 mutant males isoform a rescued the locomotion and mating defect, whereas isoform b rescued the mating defect only. Isoform b represents the first report of male-specific splicing in C. elegans. In addition, isoform b extended the number of days that transgenic unc-55 mutant males mated when compared to males rescued with isoform a, suggesting an anabolic role for the nuclear hormone receptor. The male-specific expression and splicing is part of a regulatory hierarchy that includes two key genes, male abnormal (mab)-5 and mab-9, required for the generation and differentiation of male-specific cells. We suggest that UNC-55 acts as an interface between genes involved in male tail pattern formation and those responsible for function. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Shan, G., & Walthall, W. W. (2008). Copulation in C. elegans males requires a nuclear hormone receptor. Developmental Biology, 322(1), 11–20.

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free