Autophagy genes unc-51 and bec-1 are required for normal cell size in Caenorhabditis elegans

Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):655-60. doi: 10.1534/genetics.107.075762.


Here we show that in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans mutational inactivation of two autophagy genes unc-51/atg1 and bec-1/atg6/beclin1 results in small body size without affecting cell number. Furthermore, loss-of-function mutations in unc-51 and bec-1 suppress the giant phenotype of mutant animals with aberrant insulin-like growth factor-1 (insulin/IGF-1) or transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) signaling. This function for unc-51 and bec-1 in cell size control and their interaction with these two growth modulatory pathways may represent a link between the hormonal and nutritional regulation of cell growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Size*
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology*
  • Somatomedins / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Somatomedins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins
  • bec-1 protein, C elegans
  • UNC-51 protein, C elegans
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases