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Cell. 1998 Jun 12;93(6):961-72.

Candidate adaptor protein CED-6 promotes the engulfment of apoptotic cells in C. elegans.

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York 11724, USA.


The rapid engulfment (phagocytosis) of cells undergoing programmed cell death (apoptosis) is a fundamental biological process that is not well understood. Here we report the cloning and functional characterization of ced-6, a gene specifically required for the engulfment of apoptotic cells in the nematode C. elegans. The CED-6 protein contains a phosphotyrosine binding domain at its N terminus and a proline/serine-rich region in its C-terminal half. Genetic mosaic analysis demonstrates that ced-6 acts within engulfing cells. We also show that ced-6 can promote the engulfment of cells at both early and late stages of apoptosis. Our data suggest that CED-6 is an adaptor molecule acting in a signal transduction pathway that specifically mediates the recognition and engulfment of apoptotic cells.

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