An excreted small molecule promotes C. elegans reproductive development and aging.
Nat Chem Biol. 2019 Aug;15(8):838-845
Authors: Ludewig AH, Artyukhin AB, Aprison EZ, Rodrigues PR, Pulido DC, Burkhardt RN, Panda O, Zhang YK, Gudibanda P, Ruvinsky I, Schroeder FC
Excreted small-molecule signals can bias developmental trajectories and physiology in diverse animal species. However, the chemical identity of these signals remains largely obscure. Here we report identification of an unusual N-acylated glutamine derivative, nacq#1, that accelerates reproductive development and shortens lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans. Produced predominantly by C. elegans males, nacq#1 hastens onset of sexual maturity in hermaphrodites by promoting exit from the larval dauer diapause and by accelerating late larval development. Even at picomolar concentrations, nacq#1 shortens hermaphrodite lifespan, suggesting a trade-off between reproductive investment and longevity. Acceleration of development by nacq#1 requires chemosensation and is dependent on three homologs of vertebrate steroid hormone receptors. Unlike ascaroside pheromones, which are restricted to nematodes, fatty acylated amino acid derivatives similar to nacq#1 have been reported from humans and invertebrates, suggesting that related compounds may serve signaling functions throughout metazoa.
PMID: 31320757 [PubMed - in process]