An essential role for XBP-1 in host protection against immune activation in C. elegans.
ABSTRACT: The detection and compensatory response to the accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), termed the unfolded protein response (UPR), represents a conserved cellular homeostatic mechanism with important roles in normal development and in the pathogenesis of disease. The IRE1-XBP1/Hac1 pathway is a major branch of the UPR that has been conserved from yeast to human. X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1) is required for the differentiation of the highly secretory plasma cells of the mammalian adaptive immune system, but recent work also points to reciprocal interactions between the UPR and other aspects of immunity and inflammation. We have been studying innate immunity in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, having established a principal role for a conserved PMK-1 p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway in mediating resistance to microbial pathogens. Here we show that during C. elegans development, XBP-1 has an essential role in protecting the host during activation of innate immunity. Activation of the PMK-1-mediated response to infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa induces the XBP-1-dependent UPR. Whereas a loss-of-function xbp-1 mutant develops normally in the presence of relatively non-pathogenic bacteria, infection of the xbp-1 mutant with P. aeruginosa leads to disruption of ER morphology and larval lethality. Unexpectedly, the larval lethality phenotype on pathogenic P. aeruginosa is suppressed by loss of PMK-1-mediated immunity. Furthermore, hyperactivation of PMK-1 causes larval lethality in the xbp-1 mutant even in the absence of pathogenic bacteria. Our data establish innate immunity as a physiologically relevant inducer of ER stress during C. elegans development and indicate that an ancient, conserved role for XBP-1 may be to protect the host organism from the detrimental effects of mounting an innate immune response to microbes.
Project description:The unfolded protein response (UPR) is an adaptive signaling pathway utilized to sense and alleviate the stress of protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In mammals, the UPR is mediated through three proximal sensors PERK/PEK, IRE1, and ATF6. PERK/PEK is a protein kinase that phosphorylates the alpha subunit of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 to inhibit protein synthesis. Activation of IRE1 induces splicing of XBP1 mRNA to produce a potent transcription factor. ATF6 is a transmembrane transcription factor that is activated by cleavage upon ER stress. We show that in Caenorhabditis elegans, deletion of either ire-1 or xbp-1 is synthetically lethal with deletion of either atf-6 or pek-1, both producing a developmental arrest at larval stage 2. Therefore, in C. elegans, atf-6 acts synergistically with pek-1 to complement the developmental requirement for ire-1 and xbp-1. Microarray analysis identified inducible UPR (i-UPR) genes, as well as numerous constitutive UPR (c-UPR) genes that require the ER stress transducers during normal development. Although ire-1 and xbp-1 together regulate transcription of most i-UPR genes, they are each required for expression of nonoverlapping sets of c-UPR genes, suggesting that they have distinct functions. Intriguingly, C. elegans atf-6 regulates few i-UPR genes following ER stress, but is required for the expression of many c-UPR genes, indicating its importance during development and homeostasis. In contrast, pek-1 is required for induction of approximately 23% of i-UPR genes but is dispensable for the c-UPR. As pek-1 and atf-6 mainly act through sets of nonoverlapping targets that are different from ire-1 and xbp-1 targets, at least two coordinated responses are required to alleviate ER stress by distinct mechanisms. Finally, our array study identified the liver-specific transcription factor CREBh as a novel UPR gene conserved during metazoan evolution.
Project description:Innate immunity in Caenorhabditis elegans requires a conserved PMK-1 p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway that regulates the basal and pathogen-induced expression of immune effectors. The mechanisms by which PMK-1 p38 MAPK regulates the transcriptional activation of the C. elegans immune response have not been identified. Furthermore, in mammalian systems the genetic analysis of physiological targets of p38 MAPK in immunity has been limited. Here, we show that C. elegans ATF-7, a member of the conserved cyclic AMP-responsive element binding (CREB)/activating transcription factor (ATF) family of basic-region leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors and an ortholog of mammalian ATF2/ATF7, has a pivotal role in the regulation of PMK-1-mediated innate immunity. Genetic analysis of loss-of-function alleles and a gain-of-function allele of atf-7, combined with expression analysis of PMK-1-regulated genes and biochemical characterization of the interaction between ATF-7 and PMK-1, suggest that ATF-7 functions as a repressor of PMK-1-regulated genes that undergoes a switch to an activator upon phosphorylation by PMK-1. Whereas loss-of-function mutations in atf-7 can restore basal expression of PMK-1-regulated genes observed in the pmk-1 null mutant, the induction of PMK-1-regulated genes by pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 is abrogated. The switching modes of ATF-7 activity, from repressor to activator in response to activated PMK-1 p38 MAPK, are reminiscent of the mechanism of regulation mediated by the corresponding ancestral Sko1p and Hog1p proteins in the yeast response to osmotic stress. Our data point to the regulation of the ATF2/ATF7/CREB5 family of transcriptional regulators by p38 MAPK as an ancient conserved mechanism for the control of innate immunity in metazoans, and suggest that ATF2/ATF7 may function in a similar manner in the regulation of mammalian innate immunity.
Project description:Animals have evolved critical mechanisms to maintain cellular and organismal proteostasis during development, disease, and exposure to environmental stressors. The Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) is a conserved pathway that senses and responds to the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) lumen. We have previously demonstrated that the IRE-1-XBP-1 branch of the UPR is required to maintain Caenorhabditis elegans ER homeostasis during larval development in the presence of pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa In this study, we identify loss-of-function mutations in four conserved transcriptional regulators that suppress the larval lethality of xbp-1 mutant animals caused by immune activation in response to infection by pathogenic bacteria: FKH-9, a forkhead family transcription factor; ARID-1, an ARID/Bright domain-containing transcription factor; HCF-1, a transcriptional regulator that associates with histone modifying enzymes; and SIN-3, a subunit of a histone deacetylase complex. Further characterization of FKH-9 suggests that loss of FKH-9 enhances resistance to the ER toxin tunicamycin and results in enhanced ER-associated degradation (ERAD). Increased ERAD activity of fkh-9 loss-of-function mutants is accompanied by a diminished capacity to degrade cytosolic proteasomal substrates and a corresponding increased sensitivity to the proteasomal inhibitor bortezomib. Our data underscore how the balance between ER and cytosolic proteostasis can be influenced by compensatory activation of ERAD during the physiological ER stress of infection and immune activation.
Project description:The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has emerged as a genetically tractable animal host in which to study evolutionarily conserved mechanisms of innate immune signaling. We previously showed that the PMK-1 p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway regulates innate immunity of C. elegans through phosphorylation of the CREB/ATF bZIP transcription factor, ATF-7. Here, we have undertaken a genomic analysis of the transcriptional response of C. elegans to infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, combining genome-wide expression analysis by RNA-seq with ATF-7 chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-Seq). We observe that PMK-1-ATF-7 activity regulates a majority of all genes induced by pathogen infection, and observe ATF-7 occupancy in regulatory regions of pathogen-induced genes in a PMK-1-dependent manner. Moreover, functional analysis of a subset of these ATF-7-regulated pathogen-induced target genes supports a direct role for this transcriptional response in host defense. The genome-wide regulation through PMK-1- ATF-7 signaling reveals a striking level of control over the innate immune response to infection through a single transcriptional regulator.
Project description:Metformin, as the first-line oral drug for type 2 diabetes, has proven benefits against aging, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. But the influence of metformin to the immune response and its molecular mechanisms remain obscure. Metformin increases resistance to not only the Gram-negative pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Salmonella enterica but also the Gram-positive pathogens Enterococcus faecalis and Staphylococcus aureus. Meanwhile, metformin protects the animals from the infection by enhancing the tolerance to the pathogen infection rather than by reducing the bacterial burden. Through the screening of classical immune pathways in C. elegans, we find metformin enhances innate immunity through p38 MAPK pathway. Furthermore, activated p38/PMK-1 by metformin acts on the intestine for innate immune response. In addition, metformin-treated mice have increased resistance to P. aeruginosa PA14 infection and significantly increased the levels of active PMK-1. Therefore, promoted p38/PMK-1-mediated innate immunity by metformin is conserved from worms to mammals. Our work provides a conserved mechanism by which metformin enhances immune response and boosts its therapeutic application in the treatment of pathogen infection.
Project description:The unfolded protein response (UPR), which is activated by perturbations of the endoplasmic reticulum homeostasis, has been shown to play an important role in innate immunity and inflammation. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying activation of the UPR during immune responses. Using small RNA deep sequencing and reverse genetic analysis, we show that the microRNA mir-233 is required for activation of the UPR in Caenorhabditis elegans exposed to Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14. P. aeruginosa infection up-regulates the expression of mir-233 in a p38 MAPK-dependent manner. Quantitative proteomic analysis identifies SCA-1, a C. elegans homologue of the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase, as a target of mir-233. During P. aeruginosa PA14 infection, mir-233 represses the protein levels of SCA-1, which in turn leads to activation of the UPR. Whereas mir-233 mutants are more sensitive to P. aeruginosa infection, knockdown of sca-1 leads to enhanced resistance to the killing by P. aeruginosa. Our study indicates that microRNA-dependent pathways may have an impact on innate immunity by activating the UPR.
Project description:The PMK-1 p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway and the DAF-2-DAF-16 insulin signaling pathway control Caenorhabditis elegans intestinal innate immunity. pmk-1 loss-of-function mutants have enhanced sensitivity to pathogens, while daf-2 loss-of-function mutants have enhanced resistance to pathogens that requires upregulation of the DAF-16 transcription factor. We used genetic analysis to show that the pathogen resistance of daf-2 mutants also requires PMK-1. However, genome-wide microarray analysis indicated that there was essentially no overlap between genes positively regulated by PMK-1 and DAF-16, suggesting that they form parallel pathways to promote immunity. We found that PMK-1 controls expression of candidate secreted antimicrobials, including C-type lectins, ShK toxins, and CUB-like genes. Microarray analysis demonstrated that 25% of PMK-1 positively regulated genes are induced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Using quantitative PCR, we showed that PMK-1 regulates both basal and infection-induced expression of pathogen response genes, while DAF-16 does not. Finally, we used genetic analysis to show that PMK-1 contributes to the enhanced longevity of daf-2 mutants. We propose that the PMK-1 pathway is a specific, indispensable immunity pathway that mediates expression of secreted immune response genes, while the DAF-2-DAF-16 pathway appears to regulate immunity as part of a more general stress response. The contribution of the PMK-1 pathway to the enhanced lifespan of daf-2 mutants suggests that innate immunity is an important determinant of longevity.
Project description:Aging is accompanied by a progressive decline in immune function termed "immunosenescence". Deficient surveillance coupled with the impaired function of immune cells compromises host defense in older animals. The dynamic activity of regulatory modules that control immunity appears to underlie age-dependent modifications to the immune system. In the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans levels of PMK-1 p38 MAP kinase diminish over time, reducing the expression of immune effectors that clear bacterial pathogens. Along with the PMK-1 pathway, innate immunity in C. elegans is regulated by the insulin signaling pathway. Here we asked whether DAF-16, a Forkhead box (FOXO) transcription factor whose activity is inhibited by insulin signaling, plays a role in host defense later in life. While in younger C. elegans DAF-16 is inactive unless stimulated by environmental insults, we found that even in the absence of acute stress the transcriptional activity of DAF-16 increases in an age-dependent manner. Beginning in the reproductive phase of adulthood, DAF-16 upregulates a subset of its transcriptional targets, including genes required to kill ingested microbes. Accordingly, DAF-16 has little to no role in larval immunity, but functions specifically during adulthood to confer resistance to bacterial pathogens. We found that DAF-16-mediated immunity in adults requires SMK-1, a regulatory subunit of the PP4 protein phosphatase complex. Our data suggest that as the function of one branch of the innate immune system of C. elegans (PMK-1) declines over time, DAF-16-mediated immunity ramps up to become the predominant means of protecting adults from infection, thus reconfiguring immunity later in life.
Project description:Metazoans protect themselves from environmental toxins and virulent pathogens through detoxification and immune responses. We previously identified a small molecule xenobiotic toxin that extends survival of Caenorhabditis elegans infected with human bacterial pathogens by activating the conserved p38 MAP kinase PMK-1 host defense pathway. Here we investigate the cellular mechanisms that couple activation of a detoxification response to innate immunity. From an RNAi screen of 1,420 genes expressed in the C. elegans intestine, we identified the conserved Mediator subunit MDT-15/MED15 and 28 other gene inactivations that abrogate the induction of PMK-1-dependent immune effectors by this small molecule. We demonstrate that MDT-15/MED15 is required for the xenobiotic-induced expression of p38 MAP kinase PMK-1-dependent immune genes and protection from Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. We also show that MDT-15 controls the induction of detoxification genes and functions to protect the host from bacteria-derived phenazine toxins. These data define a central role for MDT-15/MED15 in the coordination of xenobiotic detoxification and innate immune responses.
Project description:The decline in immune function with aging, known as immunosenescence, has been implicated in evolutionarily diverse species, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not understood. During aging in Caenorhabditis elegans, intestinal tissue deterioration and the increased intestinal proliferation of bacteria are observed, but how innate immunity changes during C. elegans aging has not been defined. Here we show that C. elegans exhibits increased susceptibility to bacterial infection with age, and we establish that aging is associated with a decline in the activity of the conserved PMK-1 p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway, which regulates innate immunity in C. elegans. Our data define the phenomenon of innate immunosenescence in C. elegans in terms of the age-dependent dynamics of the PMK-1 innate immune signaling pathway, and they suggest that a cycle of intestinal tissue aging, immunosenescence, and bacterial proliferation leads to death in aging C. elegans.