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Thein, Melanie C.; Winter, Alan D.; Stepek, Gillian; McCormack, Gillian; Stapleton, Genevieve; Johnstone, Iain L.; Page, Antony P. (2009)
Publisher: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: QH345
The nematode cuticle is a protective collagenous extracellular matrix that is modified, cross-linked, and processed by a number of key enzymes. This Ecdysozoan-specific structure is synthesized repeatedly and allows growth and development in a linked degradative and biosynthetic process known as molting. A targeted RNA interference screen using a cuticle collagen marker has been employed to identify components of the cuticle biosynthetic pathway. We have characterized an essential peroxidase, MoLT-7 (MLT-7), that is responsible for proper cuticle molting and re-synthesis. MLT-7 is an active, inhibitable peroxidase that is expressed in the cuticle-synthesizing hypodermis coincident with each larval molt. mlt-7 mutants show a range of body morphology defects, most notably molt, dumpy, and early larval stage arrest phenotypes that can all be complemented with a wild type copy of mlt-7. The cuticles of these mutants lacks di-tyrosine cross-links, becomes permeable to dye and accessible to tyrosine iodination, and have aberrant collagen protein expression patterns. Overexpression of MLT-7 causes mutant phenotypes further supporting its proposed enzymatic role. In combination with BLI-3, an H2O2-generating NADPH dual oxidase, MLT-7 is essential for post-embryonic development. Disruption of mlt-7, and particularly bli-3, via RNA interference also causes dramatic changes to the in vivo cross-linking patterns of the cuticle collagens DPY-13 and COL-12. This points toward a functionally cooperative relationship for these two hypodermally expressed proteins that is essential for collagen cross-linking and proper extracellular matrix formation.

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