The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is an organelle associated with lipid metabolism. However, the involvement of the ER in nutritional status-dependent energy homeostasis is largely unknown. The results of this study demonstrate that IRE-1, an ER protein known to be involved in the unfolded protein response, and HSP-4, an ER chaperone, regulate expression of the novel fasting-induced lipases FIL-1 and FIL-2, which induce fat granule hydrolysis upon fasting in C. elegans. RNAi and ectopic expression experiments demostrated that FIL-1 and FIL-2 are both necessary and sufficient for fasting-induced fat granule breakdown. Failure of ire-1
mutant animals to hydrolyze fat granules during starvation impaired their motility, which was rescued by glucose supplementation of their media, implicating the importance of ire-1
/hsp-4-dependent lipolysis for energy supply from stored fat during fasting. Taken together, these data suggest that the ER-resident proteins IRE-1 and HSP-4 are key nutritional sensors that modulate expression of inducible lipases to maintain whole-body energy homeostasis in C. elegans.