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Communication between oocytes and somatic cells regulates volatile pheromone production in Caenorhabditis elegans

Leighton, Daniel H. W. and Choe, Andrea and Wu, Shannon Y and Sternberg, Paul W. (2014) Communication between oocytes and somatic cells regulates volatile pheromone production in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111 (50). pp. 17905-17910. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC4273420. doi:10.1073/pnas.1420439111.

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Males of the androdioecious species Caenorhabditis elegans are more likely to attempt to mate with and successfully inseminate C. elegans hermaphrodites that do not concurrently harbor sperm. Although a small number of genes have been implicated in this effect, the mechanism by which it arises remains unknown. In the context of the battle of the sexes, it is also unknown whether this effect is to the benefit of the male, the hermaphrodite, or both. We report that successful contact between mature sperm and oocyte in the C. elegans gonad at the start of fertilization causes the oocyte to release a signal that is transmitted to somatic cells in its mother, with the ultimate effect of reducing her attractiveness to males. Changes in hermaphrodite attractiveness are tied to the production of a volatile pheromone, the first such pheromone described in C. elegans.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Material CentralArticle
Leighton, Daniel H. W.0000-0002-1379-0078
Sternberg, Paul W.0000-0002-7699-0173
Additional Information:Copyright © 2014 National Academy of Sciences. Contributed by Paul W. Sternberg, November 8, 2014 (sent for review March 16, 2014). Published online before print December 1, 2014, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1420439111 PNAS December 1, 2014. We thank Asher Cutter and Eric Haag for communicating unpublished results; Ashley Hebard for assisting with some of the experiments; Mihoko Kato and Hillel Schwartz for helpful discussions; and H. Robert Horvitz, Paul Minor, and the Caenorhabditis Genetics Center for sharing worm strains. D.H.W.L. was supported by a National Institutes of Health US Public Health Service Training Grant (T32GM07616). This research was supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for which P.W.S. is an investigator. Author contributions: D.H.W.L., A.C., and P.W.S. designed research; D.H.W.L., A.C., and S.Y.W. performed research; D.H.W.L. analyzed data; and D.H.W.L., A.C., and P.W.S. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article contains supporting information online at
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Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:fertilization; sex pheromones; egg–soma communication
Issue or Number:50
PubMed Central ID:PMC4273420
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141203-130630817
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Official Citation:Daniel H. W. Leighton, Andrea Choe, Shannon Y Wu, and Paul W. Sternberg Communication between oocytes and somatic cells regulates volatile pheromone production in Caenorhabditis elegans PNAS 2014 111 (50) 17905-17910; published ahead of print December 1, 2014, doi:10.1073/pnas.1420439111
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:52337
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:03 Dec 2014 21:47
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:24

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