MEC-2 is recruited to the putative mechanosensory complex in C. elegans touch receptor neurons through its stomatin-like domain

Academic Article


  • Background: The response to gentle body touch in C. elegans requires a degenerin channel complex containing four proteins (MEC-2, MEC-4, MEC-6, and MEC-10). The central portion of the integral membrane protein MEC-2 contains a stomatin-like region that is highly conserved from bacteria to mammals. The molecular function of this domain in MEC-2, however, is unknown. Results: Here, we show that MEC-2 colocalizes with the degenerin MEC-4 in regular puncta along touch receptor neuron processes. This punctate localization requires the other channel complex proteins. The stomatin-like region of MEC-2 interacts with the intracellular cytoplasmic portion of MEC-4. Missense mutations in this region that destroy the interaction also disrupt the punctate localization and degenerin-regulating function of MEC-2. Missense mutations outside this region apparently have no effect on the punctate localization but significantly reduce the regulatory effect of MEC-2 on the MEC-4 degenerin channel. A second stomatin-like protein, UNC-24, colocalizes with MEC-2 in vivo and coimmunoprecipitates with MEC-2 and MEC-4 in Xenopus oocytes; unc-24 enhances the touch insensitivity of temperature-sensitive alleles of mec-4 and mec-6. Conclusion: Two stomatin homologs, MEC-2 and UNC-24, interact with the MEC-4 degenerin through their stomatin-like regions, which act as protein binding domains. At least in the case of MEC-2, this binding allows its nonstomatin domains to regulate channel activity. Stomatin-like regions in other proteins may serve a similar protein binding function.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Current Biology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 2445206
  • Author List

  • Zhang S; Arnadottir J; Keller C; Caldwell GA; Yao CA; Chalfie M
  • Start Page

  • 1888
  • End Page

  • 1896
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 21