The nuclear receptor gene nhr-25 plays multiple roles in the Caenorhabditis elegans heterochronic gene network to control the larva-to-adult transition

Dev Biol. 2010 Aug 15;344(2):1100-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.05.508. Epub 2010 Jun 2.


Developmental timing in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is controlled by heterochronic genes, mutations in which cause changes in the relative timing of developmental events. One of the heterochronic genes, let-7, encodes a microRNA that is highly evolutionarily conserved, suggesting that similar genetic pathways control developmental timing across phyla. Here we report that the nuclear receptor nhr-25, which belongs to the evolutionarily conserved fushi tarazu-factor 1/nuclear receptor NR5A subfamily, interacts with heterochronic genes that regulate the larva-to-adult transition in C. elegans. We identified nhr-25 as a regulator of apl-1, a homolog of the Alzheimer's amyloid precursor protein-like gene that is downstream of let-7 family microRNAs. NHR-25 controls not only apl-1 expression but also regulates developmental progression in the larva-to-adult transition. NHR-25 negatively regulates the expression of the adult-specific collagen gene col-19 in lateral epidermal seam cells. In contrast, NHR-25 positively regulates the larva-to-adult transition for other timed events in seam cells, such as cell fusion, cell division and alae formation. The genetic relationships between nhr-25 and other heterochronic genes are strikingly varied among several adult developmental events. We propose that nhr-25 has multiple roles in both promoting and inhibiting the C. elegans heterochronic gene pathway controlling adult differentiation programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Division
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Larva / genetics
  • Larva / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / genetics
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism*


  • MicroRNAs
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear