The cuticle of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a specialized extracellular matrix whose major component is collagen. Cuticle collagens are encoded by a large multigene family consisting of more than 150 members. Cuticle collagen genes are expressed in epidermis (hypodermis) and may be stage-specific or cyclically expressed. We identified cuticle collagen genes as transcriptional targets of the DBL-1 TGF--related signaling pathway. These studies prompted us to investigate the cis-regulatory sequences required for transcription of one of the target genes, col-41
. We generated reporter constructs that reproduce stage- and tissue-specific expression of fluorescent markers. We identify four conserved sequence elements that are required for transcription of reporters. Finally, we provide evidence that col-41
expression is controlled by a sequence element containing two GATA sites and by the epidermal GATA transcription factors ELT-1 and ELT-3.