Senseless physically interacts with proneural proteins and functions as a transcriptional co-activator.
The Caenorhabditis briggsae homologue of the Caenorhabditis elegans pag-3 gene was cloned and sequenced. When transformed into a C. elegans pag-3 mutant, the C. briggsae pag-3 gene rescued the pag-3 reverse kinker and lethargic phenotypes. The C. elegans pag-3 gene fused to lacZ was expressed in the same pattern in C. elegans and C. briggsae. Unlike many gene homologues compared between C. elegans and C. briggsae, extensive sequence conservation was found in the non-coding regions upstream of the pag-3 exons, in several of the introns and in the downstream non-coding region. Furthermore, the splice acceptor and splice donor sites were conserved, and the size of the introns and exons was surprisingly similar. The predicted protein sequence of C. briggsae PAG-3 was 85% identical to the protein sequence of C. elegans PAG-3. Because so much of the non-coding region of pag-3 was conserved, the control of pag-3 may be quite complex, involving the binding of many trans-acting factors. These results suggest the evolutionary conservation of the pag-3 gene sequence, its expression and function.