Deficiency in RCAT-1 Function Causes Dopamine Metabolism Related Behavioral Disorders in Caenorhabditis elegans

Haelim Jeong, Jun Young Park, Ji Hyun Lee, Ja Hyun Baik, Chae Yeon Kim, Jin Young Cho, Monica Driscoll, Young Ki Paik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


When animals are faced with food depletion, food search-associated locomotion is crucial for their survival. Although food search-associated locomotion is known to be regulated by dopamine, it has yet to investigate the potential molecular mechanisms governing the regulation of genes involved in dopamine metabolism (e.g., cat-1, cat-2) and related behavioral disorders. During the studies of the pheromone ascaroside, a signal of starvation stress in C. elegans, we identified R02D3.7, renamed rcat-1 (regulator of cat genes-1), which had previously been shown to bind to regulatory sequences of both cat-1 and cat-2 genes. It was found that RCAT-1 (R02D3.7) is expressed in dopaminergic neurons and functions as a novel negative transcriptional regulator for cat-1 and cat-2 genes. When a food source becomes depleted, the null mutant, rcat-1(ok1745), exhibited an increased frequency of high-angled turns and intensified area restricted search behavior compared to the wild-type animals. Moreover, rcat-1(ok1745) also showed defects in state-dependent olfactory adaptation and basal slowing response, suggesting that the mutants are deficient in either sensing food or locomotion toward food. However, rcat-1(ok1745) has normal cuticular structures and locomotion genes. The discovery of rcat-1 not only identifies a new subtype of dopamine-related behaviors but also provides a potential therapeutic target in Parkinson’s disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2393
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • C. elegans
  • Dopamine
  • Dopamine dysregulation syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase
  • Vesicular monoamine transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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