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Development. 1999 Feb;126(3):597-606.

A gp330/megalin-related protein is required in the major epidermis of Caenorhabditis elegans for completion of molting.

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  • 1Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309 USA.


A genetic analysis of a gp330/megalin-related protein, LRP-1, has been undertaken in Caenorhabditis elegans. Consistent with megalin's being essential for development of mice, likely null mutations reveal that this large member of the low density lipoprotein receptor family is also essential for growth and development of this nematode. The mutations confer a striking defect, an inability to shed and degrade all of the old cuticle at each of the larval molts. The mutations also cause an arrest of growth usually at the molt from the third to the fourth larval stage. Genetic mosaic analysis suggests that the lrp-1 gene functions in the major epidermal syncytium hyp7, a polarized epithelium that secretes cuticle from its apical surface. Staining of whole mounts with specific monoclonal antibodies reveals that the protein is expressed on the apical surface of hyp7. Sterol starvation can phenocopy the lrp-1 mutations, suggesting that LRP-1 is a receptor for sterols that must be endocytosed by hyp7. These observations indicate that LRP-1 is related to megalin not only structurally but also functionally.

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