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Dev Cell. 2010 Dec 14;19(6):858-71. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2010.11.005.

Insulin/FOXO signaling regulates ovarian prostaglandins critical for reproduction.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA.


Abnormalities in insulin/IGF-1 signaling are associated with infertility, but the molecular mechanisms are not well understood. Here we use liquid chromatography with electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry to show that the C. elegans insulin/FOXO pathway regulates the metabolism of locally acting lipid hormones called prostaglandins. C. elegans prostaglandins are synthesized without prostaglandin G/H synthase homologs, the targets of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Our results support the model that insulin signaling promotes the conversion of oocyte polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) into F-series prostaglandins that guide sperm to the fertilization site. Reduction in insulin signaling activates DAF-16/FOXO, which represses the transcription of germline and intestinal genes required to deliver PUFAs to oocytes in lipoprotein complexes. Nutritional and neuroendocrine cues target this mechanism to control prostaglandin metabolism and reproductive output. Prostaglandins may be conserved sperm guidance factors and widespread downstream effectors of insulin actions that influence both reproductive and nonreproductive processes.

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