A potential role for fatty acid biosynthesis genes during molting and cuticle formation in Caenorhabditis elegans

BMB Rep. 2011 Apr;44(4):285-90. doi: 10.5483/BMBRep.2011.44.4.285.


Caenorhabditis elegans undergoes a developmental molting process that involves a coordinated interplay among diverse intracellular pathways. Here, we investigated the functions of two fatty acid biosynthesis genes; pod-2, encoding acetyl-CoA carboxylase, and fasn-1, encoding fatty acid synthase, in the C. elegans molting process. Although both the pod-2 and fasn-1 genes were expressed at constant levels throughout C. elegans development, knockdown of the proteins encoded by these genes using RNA interference produced severe defects in triglyceride production, molting, and reproduction that were coupled to suppression of NAS-37, a metalloprotease. An assessment of the structure and integrity of the cuticle using a COL-19::GFP marker and Hoechst 33258 staining showed that downregulation of either pod-2 or fasn-1 impaired cuticle formation and disrupted the integrity of the cuticle and the hypodermal membrane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / genetics
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / anatomy & histology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Epithelium / metabolism*
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / genetics
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / physiology*
  • Metalloproteases / metabolism
  • Molting / genetics*
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Triglycerides
  • Fatty Acid Synthases
  • Metalloproteases
  • NAS-37 protein, C elegans
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase