To gain insights into the genetic cascades that regulate fat biology, we evaluated C. elegans as an appropriate model organism. We generated worms that lack two transcription factors, SREBP and C/EBP, crucial for formation of mammalian fat. Worms deficient in either of these genes displayed a lipid-depleted phenotype-pale, skinny, larval-arrested worms that lack fat stores. On the basis of this phenotype, we used a reverse genetic screen to identify several additional genes that play a role in worm lipid storage. Two of the genes encode components of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC). When the MRC was inhibited chemically in worms or in a mammalian adipocyte model, fat accumulation was markedly reduced. A third encodes lpd-3, whose homolog is also required for fat storage in a mammalian model. These data suggest that C. elegans is a genetically tractable model to study the mechanisms that underlie the biology of fat-storing tissues.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology