C. elegans PAT-9 is a nuclear zinc finger protein critical for the assembly of muscle attachments

Qian Liu, Takako I. Jones, Rebecca A. Bachmann, Mitchell Meghpara, Lauren Rogowski, Benjamin D. Williams, Peter L. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Caenorhabditis elegans sarcomeres have been studied extensively utilizing both forward and reverse genetic techniques to provide insight into muscle development and the mechanisms behind muscle contraction. A previous genetic screen investigating early muscle development produced 13 independent mutant genes exhibiting a Pat (paralyzed and arrested elongation at the two-fold length of embryonic development) muscle phenotype. This study reports the identification and characterization of one of those genes, pat-9.Results: Positional cloning, reverse genetics, and plasmid rescue experiments were used to identify the predicted C. elegans gene T27B1.2 (recently named ztf-19) as the pat-9 gene. Analysis of pat-9 showed it is expressed early in development and within body wall muscle lineages, consistent with a role in muscle development and producing a Pat phenotype. However, unlike most of the other known Pat gene family members, which encode structural components of muscle attachment sites, PAT-9 is an exclusively nuclear protein. Analysis of the predicted PAT-9 amino acid sequence identified one putative nuclear localization domain and three C2H2 zinc finger domains. Both immunocytochemistry and PAT-9::GFP fusion expression confirm that PAT-9 is primarily a nuclear protein and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments showed that PAT-9 is present on certain gene promoters.Conclusions: We have shown that the T27B1.2 gene is pat-9. Considering the Pat-9 mutant phenotype shows severely disrupted muscle attachment sites despite PAT-9 being a nuclear zinc finger protein and not a structural component of muscle attachment sites, we propose that PAT-9 likely functions in the regulation of gene expression for some necessary structural or regulatory component(s) of the muscle attachment sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18
JournalCell and Bioscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 22 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Muscle
  • Pat
  • Sarcomere
  • Zinc finger

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'C. elegans PAT-9 is a nuclear zinc finger protein critical for the assembly of muscle attachments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this