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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Jul 9;319(4):1307-13.

Caenorhabditis elegans development requires mitochondrial function in the nervous system.

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Department of Biochemistry, Membrane Protein Research Group of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta., Canada T6G 2H7.


The mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) supplies the majority of the energy requirements of most eucaryotic cells. A null mutation in the Caenorhabditis elegans nuo-1 gene encoding a subunit of complex I (NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase) is lethal, leading to a developmental arrest at the third larval stage. To identify the tissues that regulate development in response to mitochondrial dysfunction, we restored nuo-1 expression with tissue-specific promoters. Only expression of nuo-1 ubiquitously or in the nervous system supported development to the adult stage. Pharyngeal expression of nuo-1 allowed development to proceed to the fourth larval stage. Expression of nuo-1 in the body muscles or in the germline had no effect. Furthermore, only ubiquitous or nervous system expression of nuo-1 allowed exit from the dauer state. Our results indicate that MRC function in the nervous system is needed to send and receive signals that control larval development and exit from dauer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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