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Cell. 2001 Jan 12;104(1):43-56.

CED-1 is a transmembrane receptor that mediates cell corpse engulfment in C. elegans.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biology, Building 68, Room 425, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


We cloned the C. elegans gene ced-1, which is required for the engulfment of cells undergoing programmed cell death. ced-1 encodes a transmembrane protein similar to human SREC (Scavenger Receptor from Endothelial Cells). We showed that ced-1 is expressed in and functions in engulfing cells. The CED-1 protein localizes to cell membranes and clusters around neighboring cell corpses. CED-1 failed to cluster around cell corpses in mutants defective in the engulfment gene ced-7. Motifs in the intracellular domain of CED-1 known to interact with PTB and SH2 domains were necessary for engulfment but not for clustering. Our results indicate that CED-1 is a cell surface phagocytic receptor that recognizes cell corpses. We suggest that the ABC transporter CED-7 promotes cell corpse recognition by CED-1, possibly by exposing a phospholipid ligand on the surfaces of cell corpses.

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