Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Cell Biol. 1997 Jun 2;137(5):1171-83.

Type IV collagen is detectable in most, but not all, basement membranes of Caenorhabditis elegans and assembles on tissues that do not express it.

Author information

Northwestern University Medical School, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.


Type IV collagen in Caenorhabditis elegans is produced by two essential genes, emb-9 and let-2, which encode alpha1- and alpha2-like chains, respectively. The distribution of EMB-9 and LET-2 chains has been characterized using chain-specific antisera. The chains colocalize, suggesting that they may function in a single heterotrimeric collagen molecule. Type IV collagen is detected in all basement membranes except those on the pseudocoelomic face of body wall muscle and on the regions of the hypodermis between body wall muscle quadrants, indicating that there are major structural differences between some basement membranes in C. elegans. Using lacZ/green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter constructs, both type IV collagen genes were shown to be expressed in the same cells, primarily body wall muscles, and some somatic cells of the gonad. Although the pharynx and intestine are covered with basement membranes that contain type IV collagen, these tissues do not express either type IV collagen gene. Using an epitope-tagged emb-9 construct, we show that type IV collagen made in body wall muscle cells can assemble into the pharyngeal, intestinal, and gonadal basement membranes. Additionally, we show that expression of functional type IV collagen only in body wall muscle cells is sufficient for C. elegans to complete development and be partially fertile. Since type IV collagen secreted from muscle cells only assembles into some of the basement membranes that it has access to, there must be a mechanism regulating its assembly. We propose that interaction with a cell surface-associated molecule(s) is required to facilitate type IV collagen assembly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center