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

Cell. 2001 Jan 12;104(1):43-56. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(01)00190-8.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Consensus Sequence
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / physiology
  • Phagocytosis / physiology*
  • Phenotype
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / genetics
  • Receptors, Lipoprotein*
  • Receptors, Scavenger
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Scavenger Receptors, Class B
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Transgenes / physiology
  • src Homology Domains / physiology


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • CED-7 protein, C elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Lipoprotein
  • Receptors, Scavenger
  • Scarb1 protein, mouse
  • Scavenger Receptors, Class B
  • ced-1 protein, C elegans
  • Epidermal Growth Factor

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF332568