RNAi screen of DAF-16/FOXO target genes in C. Elegans links pathogenesis and dauer formation

Victor L. Jensen, Karina T. Simonsen, Yu Hui Lee, Donha Park, Donald L. Riddle

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21 Citations (Scopus)


The DAF-16/FOXO transcription factor is the major downstream output of the insulin/IGF1R signaling pathway controlling C. elegans dauer larva development and aging. To identify novel downstream genes affecting dauer formation, we used RNAi to screen candidate genes previously identified to be regulated by DAF-16. We used a sensitized genetic background [eri-1(mg366); sdf-9(m708)], which enhances both RNAi efficiency and constitutive dauer formation (Daf-c). Among 513 RNAiclones screened, 1 displayed a synthetic Daf-c (SynDaf) phenotype with sdf-9. One of these genes, srh-100, was previously identified to be SynDaf, but twenty have not previously been associated with dauer formation. Two of the latter genes, lys-1 and cpr-1, are known to participate in innate immunity and six more are predicted to do so suggesting that the immune response may contribute to the dauer decision. Indeed, we show that two of these genes, lys-1 and clc-1, are required for normal resistance to Staphylococcus aureus. clc-1 is predicted to function in epithelial cohesion. Dauer formation exhibited by daf-8(m85), sdf-9(m708), and the wild-type N2 (at 27uC) were all enhanced by exposure to pathogenic bacteria, while not enhanced in a daf-22(m130) background. We conclude that knockdown of the genes required for proper pathogen resistance increases pathogenic infection, leading to increased dauer formation in our screen. We propose that dauer larva formation is a behavioral response to pathogens mediated by increased dauer pheromone production. 2010 Jensen et al.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15902
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Caenorhabditis Genetics Center (funded by the National Institutes of Health - National Center for Research Resources) for strains, Dr. Donald Moerman for the RNAi clones, and Nigel O'Neil and Marco Gallo for constructive discussions.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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