Perception of environmental polypeptides in C. elegans activates insulin/IGF signaling and alters lipid metabolism
Food perception affects animal physiology in complex ways. We uncoupled the effects of food perception and ingestion in the roundworm C. elegans. Perception was not sufficient to promote development, but larvae exposed to food without ingestion failed to develop upon return to normal culture conditions. Inhibition of gene expression during perception rescued subsequent development, demonstrating the response to perception without feeding is deleterious. Perception altered DAF-16/FOXO localization, reflecting activation of insulin/IGF signaling (IIS). The insulin-like peptide daf-28 was specifically required, suggesting perception in chemosensory neurons directly regulates peptide secretion. Gene expression and Nile Red staining suggest that perception alters lipid metabolism. Environmental polypeptides are sensed by starved larvae and promote dauer diapause recovery. We conclude that polypeptides are perceived as a food-associated cue, initiating a signaling and gene regulatory cascade that alters metabolism in anticipation of feeding and development, but that this response is detrimental if feeding does not occur.
Kaplan, R; Webster, A; Chitrakar, R; Dent, J; Baugh, R
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