Appetite control: Worm's-eye-view

Young Jai You, Leon Avery

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Food is important to any animal, and a large part of the behavioral repertoire is concerned with ensuring adequate nutrition. Two main nutritional sensations, hunger and satiety, produce opposite behaviors. Hungry animals seek food, increase exploratory behavior and continue feeding once they encounter food. Satiated animals decrease exploratory behavior, take rest, and stop feeding. The signals of hunger or satiety and their effects on physiology and behavior will depend not only on the animal's current nutritional status, but also on its experience and the environment in which the animal evolved. In our novel, nutritionally rich environment, improper control of appetite contributes to diseases from anorexia to the current epidemic of obesity. Despite extraordinary recent advances, genetic contribution to appetite control is still poorly understood partly due to lack of simple genetic model systems. In this review, we will discuss current understanding of molecular and cellular mechanisms by which animals regulate food intake depending on their nutritional status. Then, focusing on relatively less known muscarinic and cGMP signals, we will discuss how the molecular and behavioral aspects of hunger and satiety are conserved in a simple invertebrate model system, Caenorhabditis elegans so as for us to use it to understand the genetics of appetite control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-356
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal Cells and Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • appetite control
  • cGMP
  • food intake
  • muscarinic signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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