BMB Rep. 2011; 44(4): 285-290  
A potential role for fatty acid biosynthesis genes during molting and cuticle formation in Caenorhabditis elegans
Yingxiu Li1 & Young-Ki Paik2,*
1Department of Biochemistry, College of Life Science and Biotechnology, 2Department of Biomedical Science, World Class University Graduate School Program, and Yonsei Proteome Research Center, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-749, Korea
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Received: October 11, 2011; Accepted: March 10, 2011; Published online: April 30, 2011.
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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.
Keywords: Acetyl-CoA carboxylase, C. elegans, Cuticle, Development, Fatty acid synthase, Molting

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