The small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) is required for gonadal and uterine-vulval morphogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans

Limor Broday, Irina Kolotuev, Christine Didier, Anindita Bhoumik, Bhagwati P. Gupta, Paul W. Sternberg, Benjamin Podbilewicz, Ze'ev Ronai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations

Abstract

The small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) modification alters the subcellular distribution and function of its substrates. Here we show the major role of SUMO during the development of the Caenorhabditis elegans reproductive system. smo-1 deletion mutants develop into sterile adults with abnormal somatic gonad, germ line, and vulva. SMO-1::GFP reporter is highly expressed in the somatic reproductive system. smo-1 animals lack a vulval-uterine connection as a result of impaired ventral uterine π-cell differentiation and anchor cell fusion. Mutations in the LIN-11 LIM domain transcription factor lead to a uterine phenotype that resembles the smo-1 phenotype. LIN-11 is sumoylated, and its sumoylation is required for its activity during uterine morphogenesis. Expression of a SUMO-modified LIN-11 in the smo-1 background partially rescued π-cell differentiation and retained LIN-11 in nuclear bodies. Thus, our results identify the reproductive system as the major SUMO target during postembryonic development and highlight LIN-11 as a physiological substrate whose sumoylation is associated with the formation of a functional vulval-uterine connection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2380-2391
Number of pages12
JournalGenes and Development
Volume18
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2004

Keywords

  • SUMO
  • Somatic gonad
  • Uterine-vulval connection
  • lin-11
  • smo-1

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