DHS-21, a dicarbonyl/L-xylulose reductase (DCXR) ortholog, regulates longevity and reproduction in Caenorhabditis elegans

FEBS Lett. 2011 May 6;585(9):1310-6. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2011.03.062. Epub 2011 Apr 6.


Dicarbonyl/L-xylulose reductase (DCXR) converts l-xylulose into xylitol, and reduces various α-dicarbonyl compounds, thus performing a dual role in carbohydrate metabolism and detoxification. In this study, we identified DHS-21 as the only DCXR ortholog in Caenorhabditis elegans. The dhs-21 gene is expressed in various tissues including the intestine, gonadal sheath cells, uterine seam (utse) cells, the spermathecal-uterus (sp-ut) valve and on the plasma membrane of spermatids. Recombinant DHS-21 was shown to convert L-xylulose to xylitol using NADPH as a cofactor. Dhs-21 null mutants of C. elegans show defects in longevity, reproduction and egg-laying. Knock-down of daf-16 and elt-2 transcription factors affected dhs-21 expression. These results suggest that DHS-21 is a bona fide DCXR of C. elegans, essential for normal life span and reproduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Biocatalysis
  • Blotting, Western
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / enzymology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Longevity / genetics
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • NADP / metabolism
  • RNA Interference
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Reproduction / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sugar Alcohol Dehydrogenases / genetics
  • Sugar Alcohol Dehydrogenases / metabolism*
  • Xylitol / metabolism
  • Xylulose / metabolism


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • NADP
  • Xylulose
  • Sugar Alcohol Dehydrogenases
  • L-xylulose reductase
  • Xylitol