Studies on the histone genes of Caenorhabditis elegans
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The aim of this project is to study the temporal and tissue-specific regulation of the C. elegans histone genes. As a first step towards this goal, the organization, structure, and expression of these genes has been characterized (Roberts et al., 1987; this study). C. elegans has approximately 10-12 dispersed clusters of core histone genes (H2A, H2B, H3, H4). Several histone clusters have been mapped using restriction fragment polymorphisms associated with histone gene clusters as markers in genetic crosses. No single major histone locus was detected. The core histone transcripts have been identified and their temporal pattern of expression analyzed.;An unusual feature of the C. elegans histone gene family is that the histone H1 sequences are located outside of the clusters of core genes. One member of the C. elegans H1 gene family has been cloned and characterized. It has several atypical features. The gene contains an intervening sequence and the transcript is polyadenylated. Another member of the H1 gene family appears to encode a sperm-specific H1 transcript. The identification of this sperm-specific transcript will provide a means for us to study the mechanisms of tissue-specific gene expression.