Specific collagens maintain the cuticle permeability barrier in Caenorhabditis elegans

Anjali Sandhu, Divakar Badal, Riya Sheokand, Shalini Tyagi, Varsha Singh (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Collagen-enriched cuticle forms the outermost layer of skin in nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The nematode’s genome encodes 177 collagens, but little is known about their role in maintaining the structure or barrier function of the cuticle. In this study, we found six permeability determining (PD) collagens. Loss of any of these PD collagens—DPY-2, DPY-3, DPY-7, DPY-8, DPY-9, and DPY-10—led to enhanced susceptibility of nematodes to paraquat (PQ) and antihelminthic drugs- levamisole and ivermectin. Upon exposure to PQ, PD collagen mutants accumulated more PQ and incurred more damage and death despite the robust activation of antioxidant machinery. We find that BLMP-1, a zinc finger transcription factor, maintains the barrier function of the cuticle by regulating the expression of PD collagens. We show that the permeability barrier maintained by PD collagens acts in parallel to FOXO transcription factor DAF-16 to enhance survival of insulin-like receptor mutant, daf-2. In all, this study shows that PD collagens regulate cuticle permeability by maintaining the structure of C. elegans cuticle and thus provide protection against exogenous toxins.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberiyaa047
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Early online date29 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • BLMP-1
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Collagens
  • Cuticle
  • Dumpy
  • Hypodermis
  • Oxidative stress
  • Paraquat
  • Permeability
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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