Organ development is a complex process involving the coordination of cell proliferation, differentiation, and morphogenetic events. Using a screen to identify genes that function coordinately with lin-35/Rb during animal development, we have isolated a weak loss-of-function (LOF) mutation in pha-1. lin-35; pha-1 double mutants are defective at an early step in pharyngeal morphogenesis leading to an abnormal pharyngeal architecture. pha-1 is also synthetically lethal with other class B synthetic multivulval (SynMuv) genes including the C. elegans E2F homolog, efl-1. Reporter analyses indicate that pha-1 is broadly expressed during embryonic development and that its functions reside in the cytoplasm. We also provide genetic and phenotypic evidence to support the model that PHA-1, a novel protein, and UBC-18, a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme that we have previously shown to function with lin-35 during pharyngeal development, act in parallel pathways to regulate the activity of a common cellular target. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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