daf-31 encodes the catalytic subunit of N alpha-acetyltransferase that regulates Caenorhabditis elegans development, metabolism and adult lifespan

PLoS Genet. 2014 Oct 16;10(10):e1004699. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004699. eCollection 2014 Oct.


The Caenorhabditis elegans dauer larva is a facultative state of diapause. Mutations affecting dauer signal transduction and morphogenesis have been reported. Of these, most that result in constitutive formation of dauer larvae are temperature-sensitive (ts). The daf-31 mutant was isolated in genetic screens looking for novel and underrepresented classes of mutants that form dauer and dauer-like larvae non-conditionally. Dauer-like larvae are arrested in development and have some, but not all, of the normal dauer characteristics. We show here that daf-31 mutants form dauer-like larvae under starvation conditions but are sensitive to SDS treatment. Moreover, metabolism is shifted to fat accumulation in daf-31 mutants. We cloned the daf-31 gene and it encodes an ortholog of the arrest-defective-1 protein (ARD1) that is the catalytic subunit of the major N alpha-acetyltransferase (NatA). A daf-31 promoter::GFP reporter gene indicates daf-31 is expressed in multiple tissues including neurons, pharynx, intestine and hypodermal cells. Interestingly, overexpression of daf-31 enhances the longevity phenotype of daf-2 mutants, which is dependent on the forkhead transcription factor (FOXO) DAF-16. We demonstrate that overexpression of daf-31 stimulates the transcriptional activity of DAF-16 without influencing its subcellular localization. These data reveal an essential role of NatA in controlling C. elegans life history and also a novel interaction between ARD1 and FOXO transcription factors, which may contribute to understanding the function of ARD1 in mammals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / genetics
  • Acetyltransferases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Larva / genetics
  • Larva / growth & development
  • Longevity / genetics
  • Mutation
  • N-Terminal Acetyltransferase A / chemistry
  • N-Terminal Acetyltransferase E / chemistry
  • N-Terminal Acetyltransferases / genetics
  • N-Terminal Acetyltransferases / metabolism*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DAF-15 protein, C elegans
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • daf-16 protein, C elegans
  • Acetyltransferases
  • N-Terminal Acetyltransferase A
  • DAF-31 protein, C elegans
  • Naa10 protein, mouse
  • N-Terminal Acetyltransferase E
  • N-Terminal Acetyltransferases