Indexed on: 08 Oct '03Published on: 08 Oct '03Published in: Journal of Biological Chemistry
Caenorhabditis elegans clk-1 mutants lack coenzyme Q9 and accumulate the biosynthetic intermediate demethoxy-Q9. A dietary source of ubiquinone (Q) is required for larval growth and development of the gonad and germ cells. We considered that uptake of the shorter Q8 isoform present in the Escherichia coli food may contribute to the Clk phenotypes of slowed development and reduced brood size observed when the animals are fed Q-replete E. coli. To test the effect of isoprene tail length, N2 and clk-1 animals were fed E. coli engineered to produce Q7, Q8, Q9, or Q10. Wild-type nematodes showed no change in reproductive fitness regardless of the Qn isoform fed. clk-1(e2519) fed the Q9 diet showed increased egg production; however, this diet did not improve reproductive fitness of the clk-1(qm30) animals. Furthermore, animals with the more severe clk-1(qm30) allele become sterile and their progeny inviable when fed Q7-containing bacteria. The content of Q7 in the mitochondria of clk-1 animals was decreased relative to Q8, suggesting less effective transport of Q7 to the mitochondria, impaired retention, or decreased stability. Additionally, regardless of E. coli diet, clk-1(qm30) animals contain a dysfunctional dense form of mitochondria. The gonads of clk-1(qm30) worms fed Q7-containing food were severely shrunken and disordered. The differential fertility of clk-1 mutant nematodes fed Q isoforms may result from changes in Q localization, altered recognition by Q-binding proteins, and/or potential defects in mitochondrial function resulting from the mutant CLK-1 polypeptide itself.