- Mutations in the gene lin-17 result in the disruption of a variety of asymmetric cell divisions in Caenorhabditis elegans. We have found that lin-17 encodes a protein with seven putative transmembrane domains. The LIN-17 protein is most similar to the Drosophila Frizzled protein and its vertebrate homologs. Studies using a lin-17-green fluorescent protein translational fusion indicate that lin-17 is expressed in mother cells before asymmetric cell divisions and in both daughter cells after the divisions. Our results suggest that lin-17 encodes a receptor that regulates the polarities of cells undergoing asymmetric cell divisions and raise the possibility that the LIN-17 protein acts as a receptor for the Wnt protein LIN-44, which also controls asymmetric cell divisions.