The ETS-5 transcription factor regulates activity states in Caenorhabditis elegans by controlling satiety

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Animal behavior is shaped through interplay among genes, the environment, and previous experience. As in mammals, satiety signals induce quiescence in Caenorhabditis elegans Here we report that the C. elegans transcription factor ETS-5, an ortholog of mammalian FEV/Pet1, controls satiety-induced quiescence. Nutritional status has a major influence on C. elegans behavior. When foraging, food availability controls behavioral state switching between active (roaming) and sedentary (dwelling) states; however, when provided with high-quality food, C. elegans become sated and enter quiescence. We show that ETS-5 acts to promote roaming and inhibit quiescence by setting the internal "satiety quotient" through fat regulation. Acting from the ASG and BAG sensory neurons, we show that ETS-5 functions in a complex network with serotonergic and neuropeptide signaling pathways to control food-regulated behavioral state switching. Taken together, our results identify a neuronal mechanism for controlling intestinal fat stores and organismal behavioral states in C. elegans, and establish a paradigm for the elucidation of obesity-relevant mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)E1651-E1658
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2017

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