The role of nuclear receptor NHR-64 in fat storage regulation in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Research paper by Bin B Liang, Kim K Ferguson, Lisa L Kadyk, Jennifer L JL Watts

Indexed on: 03 Apr '10Published on: 03 Apr '10Published in: PloS one


Nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs) play vital roles in the regulation of metabolism, reproduction, and development. We found that inactivation of a C. elegans HNF4 homologue nhr-64 by RNA interference (RNAi) suppresses low fat stores in stearoyl-CoA desaturase-deficient fat-6;fat-7 double mutants and sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) sbp-1 mutants. Furthermore, inactivation of nhr-64 improves the growth rate of the fat-6;fat-7and sbp-1 strains. While nhr-64RNAi subtly affects fatty acid composition and fat storage in wild-type C. elegans, its effects on lipid metabolism are most apparent in the background of stearoyl-CoA desaturase or SREBP deficiency. NHR-64 displays transcriptional activating activity when expressed in yeast, and inactivation of nhr-64 affects the expression of at least 14 metabolic genes. Wild-type worms treated with nhr-64 RNAi display increased expression of acetyl-CoA carboxylase as well as increased abundance of de novo synthesized monomethyl branched chain fatty acids, suggesting an increase in fat synthesis. However, reduced expression of the acetyl-CoA synthetase gene acs-2 and an acyl-CoA oxidase gene indicates that a key role of NHR-64 may be to promote fatty acid oxidation in mitochondria and peroxisomes. These studies reveal that NHR-64 is an important regulator of fat storage in C. elegans.