PRY-1/Axin signaling regulates lipid metabolism in Caenorhabditis elegans
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The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans constitutes a leading animal model to study how signaling pathway components function in conserved biological processes. Here, we describe the role of an Axin family member, PRY-1, in lipid metabolism. Axins are scaffolding proteins that play crucial roles in signal transduction pathways by physically interacting with multiple factors and coordinating the assembly of protein complexes. Genome-wide transcriptome profiling of a pry-1 mutant revealed differentially regulated genes that are associated with lipid metabolism such as vitellogenins (yolk lipoproteins), fatty acid desaturases, lipases, and fatty acid transporters. Consistent with these categorizations, we found that pry-1 is crucial for the maintenance of lipid levels. Knockdowns of vit genes in a pry-1 mutant background restored lipid levels, suggesting that vitellogenins contribute to PRY-1 function in lipid metabolic processes. Additionally, lowered expression of desaturases and lipidomic analysis provided evidence that fatty acid synthesis is reduced in pry-1 mutants. Accordingly, an exogenous supply of oleic acid restored depleted lipids in somatic tissues of worms. Overall, our findings demonstrate that PRY-1/Axin signaling is essential for lipid metabolism and involves the regulation of yolk proteins.
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