Jennifer L Watts

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Regulation of body fat storage involves signalling between centres that regulate feeding in the brain and sites of fat storage and use in the body. Here we describe an assay for analysing fat storage and mobilization in living Caenorhabditis elegans. By using RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) to disrupt the expression of each of the 16,757 worm genes, we(More)
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are important membrane components and precursors of signaling molecules. To investigate the roles of these fatty acids in growth, development, and neurological function in an animal system, we isolated Caenorhabditis elegans mutants deficient in PUFA synthesis by direct analysis of fatty acid composition. C. elegans(More)
Delta-9 desaturases, also known as stearoyl-CoA desaturases, are lipogenic enzymes responsible for the generation of vital components of membranes and energy storage molecules. We have identified a novel nuclear hormone receptor, NHR-80, that regulates delta-9 desaturase gene expression in Caenorhabditis elegans. Here we describe fatty acid compositions,(More)
The sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) family of transcription activators are critical regulators of cholesterol and fatty acid homeostasis. We previously demonstrated that human SREBPs bind the CREB-binding protein (CBP)/p300 acetyltransferase KIX domain and recruit activator-recruited co-factor (ARC)/Mediator co-activator complexes through(More)
A variety of lipid and lipid-derived molecules can modulate TRP cation channel activity, but the identity of the lipids that affect TRP channel function in vivo is unknown. Here, we use genetic and behavioral analysis in the nematode C. elegans to implicate a subset of 20-carbon polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in TRPV channel-dependent olfactory and(More)
Sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) activate genes involved in the synthesis and trafficking of cholesterol and other lipids and are critical for maintaining lipid homeostasis. Aberrant SREBP activity, however, can contribute to obesity, fatty liver disease, and insulin resistance, hallmarks of metabolic syndrome. Our studies identify a(More)
Polyunsaturated fatty acids have crucial roles in membrane biology and signaling processes in most living organisms. However, it is only recently that molecular genetic approaches have allowed detailed studies of the enzymes involved in their synthesis. New evidence has revealed a range of pathways in different organisms. These include a complex sequence(More)
Monounsaturated fatty acids are essential components of membrane and storage lipids. Their synthesis depends on the conversion of saturated fatty acids to unsaturated fatty acids by Delta9 desaturases. Caenorhabditis elegans has three Delta9 desaturases encoded by the genes fat-5, fat-6, and fat-7. We generated nematodes that display a range of altered(More)
A growing body of research indicates that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients and mouse models of ALS exhibit metabolic dysfunction. A subpopulation of ALS patients possesses higher levels of resting energy expenditure and lower fat-free mass compared to healthy controls. Similarly, two mutant copper zinc superoxide dismutase 1 (mSOD1) mouse models(More)
Understanding the regulation of fat synthesis and the consequences of its misregulation is of profound significance for managing the obesity epidemic and developing obesity therapeutics. Recent work in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans has revealed the importance of evolutionarily conserved pathways of fat synthesis and nutrient sensing in adiposity(More)