Pu-erh tea down-regulates sterol regulatory element-binding protein and stearyol-CoA desaturase to reduce fat storage in Caenorhaditis elegans

PLoS One. 2015 Feb 6;10(2):e0113815. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113815. eCollection 2015.


Consumption of Pu-erh has been reported to result in numerous health benefits, but the mechanisms underlying purported weight-loss and lowering of lipid are poorly understood. Here, we used the nematode Caenorhaditis elegans to explore the water extract of Pu-erh tea (PTE) functions to reduce fat storage. We found that PTE down-regulates the expression of the master fat regulator SBP-1, a homologue of sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) and its target stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD), a key enzyme in fat biosynthesis, leading to an increased ratio of stearic acid (C18:0) to oleic acid (C18:1n-9), and subsequently decreased fat storage. We also found that both the pharyngeal pumping rate and food uptake of C. elegans decreased with exposure to PTE. Collectively, these results provide an experimental basis for explaining the ability of Pu-erh tea in promoting inhibition of food uptake and the biosynthesis of fat via SBP-1 and SCD, thereby reducing fat storage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Fats / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Response Elements / physiology
  • Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase / biosynthesis*
  • Tea / chemistry*
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Fats
  • SBP-1 protein, C elegans
  • Tea
  • Transcription Factors
  • Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase