The FMRFamide Neuropeptide FLP-20 Acts as a Systemic Signal for Starvation Responses in Caenorhabditis elegans

Mol Cells. 2021 Jul 31;44(7):529-537. doi: 10.14348/molcells.2021.0051.


Most animals face frequent periods of starvation throughout their entire life and thus need to appropriately adjust their behavior and metabolism during starvation for their survival. Such adaptive responses are regulated by a complex set of systemic signals, including hormones and neuropeptides. While much progress has been made in identifying pathways that regulate nutrient-excessive states, it is still incompletely understood how animals systemically signal their nutrient-deficient states. Here, we showed that the FMRFamide neuropeptide FLP-20 modulates a systemic starvation response in Caenorhabditis elegans. We found that mutation of flp-20 rescued the starvation hypersensitivity of the G protein β-subunit gpb-2 mutants by suppressing excessive autophagy. FLP-20 acted in AIB neurons, where the metabotropic glutamate receptor MGL-2 also functions to modulate a systemic starvation response. Furthermore, FLP-20 modulated starvation-induced fat degradation in a manner dependent on the receptor-type guanylate cyclase GCY-28. Collectively, our results reveal a circuit that senses and signals nutrient-deficient states to modulate a systemic starvation response in multicellular organisms.

Keywords: autophagy; metabotropic glutamate receptor; neuropeptide; nutrient-deficient states; receptor-type guanylate cyclase; starvation response; systemic regulation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • FMRFamide / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / genetics*


  • Neuropeptides
  • FMRFamide