A molecular basis for reciprocal regulation between pheromones and hormones in response to dietary cues in C. Elegans

Saeram Park, Jun Young Park, Young Ki Paik

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Under stressful conditions, the early larvae of C. elegans enter dauer diapause, a non-aging period, driven by the seemingly opposite influence of ascaroside pheromones (ASCRs) and steroid hormone dafachronic acids (DAs). However, the molecular basis of how these small molecules engage in competitive crosstalk in coordination with insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) remains elusive. Here we report a novel transcriptional regulatory pathway that seems to operate between the ASCR and DA biosynthesis under ad libitum (AL) feeding conditions or bacterial deprivation (BD). Although expression of the ASCR and DA biosynthetic genes reciprocally inhibit each other, ironically and interestingly, such dietary cue-mediated modulation requires the presence of the competitors. Under BD, induction of ASCR biosynthetic gene expression required DA, while ASCR suppresses the expression of the DA biosynthetic gene daf-36. The negative regulation of DA by ASCR was IIS-dependent, whereas daf-36 regulation appeared to be independent of IIS. These observations suggest that the presence of ASCR determines the IIS-dependency of DA gene expression regardless of dietary conditions. Thus, our work defines a molecular basis for a novel reciprocal gene regulation of pheromones and hormones to cope with stressful conditions during development and aging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2366
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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