Fos and Jun are components of activator protein-1 (AP-1) and play crucial roles in the regulation of many cellular, developmental, and physiological processes. Caenorhabditis elegans fos-1 has been shown to act in uterine and vulval development. Here, we provide evidence that C. elegans fos-1 and jun-1 control ovulation, a tightly regulated rhythmic program in animals. Knockdown of fos-1 or jun-1 blocks dilation of the distal spermathecal valve, a critical step for the entry of mature oocytes into the spermatheca for fertilization. Furthermore, fos-1 and jun-1 regulate the spermathecal-specific expression of plc-1, a gene that encodes a phospholipase C (PLC) isozyme that is rate-limiting for inositol triphosphate production and ovulation, and overexpression of PLC-1 rescues the ovulation defect in fos-1(RNAi) worms. Unlike fos-1, regulation of ovulation by jun-1 requires genetic interactions with eri-1 and lin-15B, which are involved in the RNA interference pathway and chromatin remodeling, respectively. At least two isoforms of jun-1 are coexpressed with fos-1b in the spermatheca, and different AP-1 dimers formed between these isoforms have distinct effects on the activation of a reporter gene. These findings uncover a novel role for FOS-1 and JUN-1 in the reproductive system and establish C. elegans as a model for studying AP-1 dimerization.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology