To sense its population density and to trigger entry into the stress-resistant dauer larval stage, Caenorhabditis elegans uses the dauer pheromone, which consists of ascaroside derivatives with short, fatty acid-like side chains. Although the dauer pheromone has been studied for 25 years, its biosynthesis is completely uncharacterized. The daf-22 mutant is the only known mutant defective in dauer pheromone production. Here, we show that daf-22 encodes a homolog of human sterol carrier protein SCPx, which catalyzes the final step in peroxisomal fatty acid β-oxidation. We also show that dhs-28, which encodes a homolog of the human D-bifunctional protein that acts just upstream of SCPx, is also required for pheromone production. Long-term daf-22 and dhs-28 cultures develop dauer-inducing activity by accumulating less active, long-chain fatty acid ascaroside derivatives. Thus, daf-22 and dhs-28 are required for the biosynthesis of the short-chain fatty acid-derived side chains of the dauer pheromone and link dauer pheromone production to metabolic state. © 2009 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Butcher, R., Ragains, J., Li, W., Ruvkun, G., Clardy, J., & Ho, Y. (2009). Biosynthesis of the Caenorhabditis elegans dauer pheromone. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106 (6), 1875-1879. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0810338106