Molecular mechanisms of LDL trafficking in C. elegans
LDL is a low-density lipoprotein consisting of core proteins and lipids such as cholesterol. LDL is secreted from the liver and circulates through blood vessels to supply cholesterol to cells. LDL is recognized by the LDL receptor on the cell surface and then taken up by cells via receptor-mediated endocytosis. This process is also important to remove LDL from the blood and maintain a normal level of LDL. Mutations in the LDL receptor gene lead to hyperaccumulation of LDL in the blood and cause familial hypercholesterolemia. Interestingly, the characteristics of C. elegans yolk are very similar to mammalian LDL. In C. elegans, yolk is taken up by oocytes via receptor-mediated endocytosis. To study
LDL endocytosis in multicellular organisms, we utilize the advanced genetics
that are available for C. elegans. Endocytosis-defective mutants of C. elegans are therefore used to identify novel components required for LDL endocytosis.
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