Why do worms need cholesterol?

Nat Cell Biol. 2003 Aug;5(8):684-8. doi: 10.1038/ncb0803-684.


Cholesterol is a structural component of animal membranes that influences fluidity, permeability and formation of lipid microdomains. It is also a precursor to signalling molecules, including mammalian steroid hormones and insect ecdysones. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans requires too little cholesterol for it to have a major role in membrane structure. Instead, its most probable signalling functions are to control molting and induce a specialized non-feeding larval stage, although no cholesterol-derived signalling molecule has yet been identified for these or any other functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cholesterol / chemistry
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Cholesterol