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Formation and function of dauer ascarosides in the nematodes Caenorhabditis briggsae and Caenorhabditis elegans

Cohen, Sarah M. and Wrobel, Chester J. J. and Prakash, Sharan J. and Schroeder, Frank C. and Sternberg, Paul W. (2022) Formation and function of dauer ascarosides in the nematodes Caenorhabditis briggsae and Caenorhabditis elegans. G3, 12 (3). Art. No. jkac014. ISSN 2160-1836. PMCID PMC8895998. doi:10.1093/g3journal/jkac014.

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The biosynthetic pathways and functions of ascaroside signaling molecules in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans have been studied to better understand complex, integrative developmental decision-making. Although it is known that ascarosides play multiple roles in the development and behavior of nematode species other than C. elegans, these parallel pheromone systems have not been well-studied. Here, we show that ascarosides in the nematode Caenorhabditis briggsae are biosynthesized in the same manner as C. elegans and act to induce the alternative developmental pathway that generates the stress-resistant dauer lifestage. We show that ascr#2 is the primary component of crude dauer pheromone in C. briggsae; in contrast, C. elegans dauer pheromone relies on a combination of ascr#2, ascr#3, and several other components. We further demonstrate that Cbr-daf-22, like its C. elegans ortholog Cel-daf-22, is necessary to produce short-chain ascarosides. Moreover, Cbr-daf-22 and Cel-daf-22 mutants produce an ascaroside-independent metabolite that acts antagonistically to crude dauer pheromone and inhibits dauer formation.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Cohen, Sarah M.0000-0002-5233-2280
Wrobel, Chester J. J.0000-0001-6047-4644
Schroeder, Frank C.0000-0002-4420-0237
Sternberg, Paul W.0000-0002-7699-0173
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Genetics Society of America. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Received: July 19, 2021. Accepted: December 22, 2021. The authors thank all members of the Sternberg and Schroeder labs especially Mengyi Cao, Hillel Schwartz, Heenam Park, Jessica Sun, and Katherine Norton for their input, assistance, and helpful comments throughout the project. They thank the Caenorhabditis Genetics Center, which is funded by the NIH Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (P40 OD010440) for some C. elegans strains used in these experiments, WormBase for sequences, and Tsui-Fen Chou for Cas9 protein. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant DGE 1745301 to SMC, the National Institutes of Health through Grants UF1NS111697 and R24OD023041 to PWS, and the National Institutes of Health through Grant R01GM113692 to FCS. FCS is also a Faculty Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Data availability. Strains are available upon request. The authors affirm that all data necessary for confirming the conclusions of the article are present within the article, figures, and tables. Supplemental material is available at G3 online. Conflicts of interest. None declared.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1745301
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:C. elegans, C. briggsae, ascarosides, dauer, daf-22, glo-1
Issue or Number:3
PubMed Central ID:PMC8895998
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220308-35596000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Sarah M Cohen, Chester J J Wrobel, Sharan J Prakash, Frank C Schroeder, Paul W Sternberg, Formation and function of dauer ascarosides in the nematodes Caenorhabditis briggsae and Caenorhabditis elegans, G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics, Volume 12, Issue 3, March 2022, jkac014,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113790
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:09 Mar 2022 15:13
Last Modified:09 Mar 2022 15:13

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