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Cell. 1998 Jun 12;93(6):951-60.

The C. elegans cell corpse engulfment gene ced-7 encodes a protein similar to ABC transporters.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139, USA.


The C. elegans gene ced-7 functions in the engulfment of cell corpses during programmed cell death. We report that the CED-7 protein has sequence similarity to ABC transporters, is broadly expressed during embryogenesis, and is localized to the plasma membrane. Mosaic analysis revealed that ced-7 functions in both dying cells and engulfing cells during the engulfment process. We propose that CED-7 functions to translocate molecules that mediate homotypic adhesion between the cell surfaces of the dying and engulfing cells. Like CED-7, the mammalian ABC transporter ABC1 has been implicated in the engulfment of cell corpses, suggesting that CED-7 and ABC1 may be functionally similar and that the molecular mechanism underlying cell corpse engulfment during programmed cell death may be conserved from nematodes to mammals.

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