The sqt-1 gene is 1 of the several loci in Caenorhabditis elegans that primarily affects organismal morphology. Certain mutations in the sqt-1 gene can produce left roller animals, i.e., they rotate around their long axis and move in circular paths. We describe the morphological alterations seen in the cuticle of the left roller sqt-1(sc13). Deep-etched replica analyses showed that the fibrous layer is composed of a unique strand of parallel fibers, instead of the 2 meeting at an angle of 60° as observed in the wild-type strain. In addition, honeycomb elements, fibers organized in a pentagonal fashion above the fibrous layer, completely fill the intermediate layer that is empty spaces in the wild type. These morphological alterations are likely to be involved in generating the helical twist of the sqt-1(sc13) left roller mutant.
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