We cloned the clh-1 gene coding for a putative ClC chloride channel in Caenorhabditis elegans. The gene product exhibited a high degree of homology with human ClC-1 and ClC-2. The clh-1 gene was predominantly expressed in the hypodermis, including seam cells. Null mutations of clh-1 caused a significantly wider body and an abnormal alae structure. High osmolarity in the culture medium restored the normal body width of the clh-1 mutants. These results suggest that the clh-1 gene contributes to maintenance of the body width through regulation of osmolarity.
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