Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1996 Jun 25;93(13):6577-82
Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.
At least 13 genes (mec-1, mec-2, mec-4-10, mec-12, mec-14, mec-15, and mec-18) are needed for the response to gentle touch by 6 touch receptor neurons in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Several, otherwise recessive alleles of some of these genes a ct as dominant enhancer mutations of temperature-sensitive alleles of mec-4, mec-5, mec-6, mec-12, and mec-15. Screens for additional dominant enhancers of mec-4 and mec-5 yielded mutations in previously known genes. In addition, some mec-7 alleles showed allele-specific, dominant suppression of the mec-15 touch-insensitive (Mec) phenotype. The dominant enhancement and suppression exhibited by these mutations suggest that the products of several touch genes interact. These results are consistent with a mo del, supported by the known sequences of these genes, that almost all of the touch function genes contribute to the mechanosensory apparatus.