Autophagy Genes unc-51 and bec-1 Are Required for Normal Cell Size in Caenorhabditis elegans
István Aladzsity, Márton L. Tóth, Tímea Sigmond, Emese Szabó, Bertalan Bicsák, János Barna, Ágnes Regős, László Orosz, Attila L. Kovács, Tibor Vellai


Here we show that in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans mutational inactivation of two autophagy genes unc-51/atg1 and bec-1/atg6/beclin1 results in small body size without affecting cell number. Furthermore, loss-of-function mutations in unc-51 and bec-1 suppress the giant phenotype of mutant animals with aberrant insulin-like growth factor-1 (insulin/IGF-1) or transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling. This function for unc-51 and bec-1 in cell size control and their interaction with these two growth modulatory pathways may represent a link between the hormonal and nutritional regulation of cell growth.


  • Communicating editor: D. I. Greenstein

  • Received May 10, 2007.
  • Accepted June 21, 2007.
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