Project description:FoxO transcription factors promote longevity across taxa. How they do so is poorly understood. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the A- and F-isoforms of the FoxO transcription factor DAF-16 extend life span in the context of reduced DAF-2 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGFR) signaling. To elucidate the mechanistic basis for DAF-16/FoxO-dependent life span extension, we performed an integrative analysis of isoform-specific daf-16/FoxO mutants. In contrast to previous studies suggesting that DAF-16F plays a more prominent role in life span control than DAF-16A, isoform-specific daf-16/FoxO mutant phenotypes and whole transcriptome profiling revealed a predominant role for DAF-16A over DAF-16F in life span control, stress resistance, and target gene regulation. Integration of these datasets enabled the prioritization of a subset of 92 DAF-16/FoxO target genes for functional interrogation. Among 29 genes tested, two DAF-16A-specific target genes significantly influenced longevity. A loss-of-function mutation in the conserved gene gst-20, which is induced by DAF-16A, reduced life span extension in the context of daf-2/IGFR RNAi without influencing longevity in animals subjected to control RNAi. Therefore, gst-20 promotes DAF-16/FoxO-dependent longevity. Conversely, a loss-of-function mutation in srr-4, a gene encoding a seven-transmembrane-domain receptor family member that is repressed by DAF-16A, extended life span in control animals, indicating that DAF-16/FoxO may extend life span at least in part by reducing srr-4 expression. Our discovery of new longevity genes underscores the efficacy of our integrative strategy while providing a general framework for identifying specific downstream gene regulatory events that contribute substantially to transcription factor functions. As FoxO transcription factors have conserved functions in promoting longevity and may be dysregulated in aging-related diseases, these findings promise to illuminate fundamental principles underlying aging in animals.
Project description:Insulin regulates development, metabolism, and lifespan via a conserved PI3K/Akt pathway that promotes cytoplasmic sequestration of FoxO transcription factors. The regulation of nuclear FoxO is poorly understood. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, insulin-like signaling functions in larvae to inhibit dauer arrest and acts during adulthood to regulate lifespan. In a screen for genes that modulate C. elegans insulin-like signaling, we identified eak-3, which encodes a novel protein that is specifically expressed in the two endocrine XXX cells. The dauer arrest phenotype of eak-3 mutants is fully suppressed by mutations in daf-16/FoxO, which encodes the major target of C. elegans insulin-like signaling, and daf-12, which encodes a nuclear receptor regulated by steroid hormones known as dafachronic acids. eak-3 mutation does not affect DAF-16/FoxO subcellular localization but enhances expression of the direct DAF-16/FoxO target sod-3 in a daf-16/FoxO- and daf-12-dependent manner. eak-3 mutants have normal lifespans, suggesting that EAK-3 decouples insulin-like regulation of development and longevity. We propose that EAK-3 activity in the XXX cells promotes the synthesis and/or secretion of a hormone that acts in parallel to AKT-1 to inhibit the expression of DAF-16/FoxO target genes. Similar hormonal pathways may regulate FoxO target gene expression in mammals.
Project description:The AGC family serine-threonine kinases Akt and Sgk are similar in primary amino acid sequence and in vitro substrate specificity, and both kinases are thought to directly phosphorylate and inhibit FoxO transcription factors. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, it is well established that AKT-1 controls dauer arrest and lifespan by regulating the subcellular localization of the FoxO transcription factor DAF-16. SGK-1 is thought to act similarly to AKT-1 in lifespan control by phosphorylating and inhibiting the nuclear translocation of DAF-16/FoxO. Using sgk-1 null and gain-of-function mutants, we now provide multiple lines of evidence indicating that AKT-1 and SGK-1 influence C. elegans lifespan, stress resistance, and DAF-16/FoxO activity in fundamentally different ways. Whereas AKT-1 shortens lifespan, SGK-1 promotes longevity in a DAF-16-/FoxO-dependent manner. In contrast to AKT-1, which reduces resistance to multiple stresses, SGK-1 promotes resistance to oxidative stress and ultraviolet radiation but inhibits thermotolerance. Analysis of several DAF-16/FoxO target genes that are repressed by AKT-1 reveals that SGK-1 represses a subset of these genes while having little influence on the expression of others. Accordingly, unlike AKT-1, which promotes the cytoplasmic sequestration of DAF-16/FoxO, SGK-1 does not influence DAF-16/FoxO subcellular localization. Thus, in spite of their similar in vitro substrate specificities, Akt and Sgk influence longevity, stress resistance, and FoxO activity through distinct mechanisms in vivo. Our findings highlight the need for a re-evaluation of current paradigms of FoxO regulation by Sgk.
Project description:The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway is a conserved signal transduction cascade that is fundamental for the correct development of the nervous system. The major negative regulator of PI3K signaling is the lipid phosphatase DAF-18/PTEN, which can modulate PI3K pathway activity during neurodevelopment. Here, we identify a novel role for DAF-18 in promoting neurite outgrowth during development in Caenorhabditis elegans. We find that DAF-18 modulates the PI3K signaling pathway to activate DAF-16/FOXO and promote developmental neurite outgrowth. This activity of DAF-16 in promoting outgrowth is isoform-specific, being effected by the daf-16b isoform but not the daf-16a or daf-16d/f isoform. We also demonstrate that the capacity of DAF-16/FOXO in regulating neuron morphology is conserved in mammalian neurons. These data provide a novel mechanism by which the conserved PI3K signaling pathway regulates neuronal cell morphology during development through FOXO.
Project description:FoxO transcription factors promote longevity across taxa. How they do so is poorly understood. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the A- and F-isoforms of the FoxO transcription factor DAF-16 extend life span in the context of reduced DAF-2 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGFR) signaling. To elucidate the mechanistic basis for DAF-16/FoxO-dependent life span extension, we performed an integrative analysis of isoform-specific daf-16/FoxO mutants. In contrast to previous studies suggesting that DAF-16F plays a more prominent role in life span control than DAF-16A, isoform-specific daf-16/FoxO mutant phenotypes and whole transcriptome profiling revealed a predominant role for DAF-16A over DAF-16F in life span control, stress resistance, and target gene regulation. Integration of these data sets enabled the prioritization of a subset of 92 DAF-16/FoxO target genes for functional interrogation. Among 29 genes tested, two DAF-16A-specific target genes significantly influenced longevity. Our discovery of new longevity genes underscores the efficacy of our integrative strategy while providing a general framework for identifying specific downstream gene regulatory events that contribute substantially to transcription factor functions. As FoxO transcription factors have conserved functions in promoting longevity and may be dysregulated in aging-related diseases, these findings promise to illuminate fundamental principles underlying aging in animals. Whole-transcriptome profiling of daf-16/FoxO isoform-specific deletion mutants in the long-lived daf-2(e1370) background. Included are daf-16 wild-type, daf-16 null mutation, daf-16a/f mutation, two independent daf-16a mutations, and daf-16f mutation. N2 wild-type controls are also included.
Project description:During embryogenesis, an essential process known as dosage compensation is initiated to equalize gene expression from sex chromosomes. Although much is known about how dosage compensation is established, the consequences of modulating the stability of dosage compensation postembryonically are not known. Here we define a role for the Caenorhabditis elegans dosage compensation complex (DCC) in the regulation of DAF-2 insulin-like signaling. In a screen for dauer regulatory genes that control the activity of the FoxO transcription factor DAF-16, we isolated three mutant alleles of dpy-21, which encodes a conserved DCC component. Knockdown of multiple DCC components in hermaphrodite and male animals indicates that the dauer suppression phenotype of dpy-21 mutants is due to a defect in dosage compensation per se. In dpy-21 mutants, expression of several X-linked genes that promote dauer bypass is elevated, including four genes encoding components of the DAF-2 insulin-like pathway that antagonize DAF-16/FoxO activity. Accordingly, dpy-21 mutation reduced the expression of DAF-16/FoxO target genes by promoting the exclusion of DAF-16/FoxO from nuclei. Thus, dosage compensation enhances dauer arrest by repressing X-linked genes that promote reproductive development through the inhibition of DAF-16/FoxO nuclear translocation. This work is the first to establish a specific postembryonic function for dosage compensation in any organism. The influence of dosage compensation on dauer arrest, a larval developmental fate governed by the integration of multiple environmental inputs and signaling outputs, suggests that the dosage compensation machinery may respond to external cues by modulating signaling pathways through chromosome-wide regulation of gene expression.
Project description:The proteasome maintains cellular homeostasis by degrading oxidized and damaged proteins, a function known to be impaired during aging. The proteasome also acts in a regulatory capacity through E3 ligases to mediate the spatially and temporally controlled breakdown of specific proteins that impact biological processes. We have identified components of a Skp1-Cul1-F-Box E3 ligase complex that are required for the extended lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1-signaling (IIS) mutants. The CUL-1 complex functions in postmitotic, adult somatic tissues of IIS mutants to enhance longevity. Reducing IIS function leads to the nuclear accumulation of the DAF-16/FOXO transcription factor, which extends lifespan by regulating downstream longevity genes. These CUL-1 complex genes act, at least in part, by promoting the transcriptional activity of DAF-16/FOXO. Together, our findings describe a role for an important cellular pathway, the proteasomal pathway, in the genetic determination of lifespan.
Project description:In Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), the promotion of longevity by the transcription factor DAF-16 requires reduced insulin/IGF receptor (IIR) signaling or the ablation of the germline, although the reason for the negative impact of germ cells is unknown. FOXO/DAF-16 activity inhibits germline proliferation in both daf-2 mutants and gld-1 tumors. In contrast to its function as a germline tumor suppressor, we now provide evidence that somatic DAF-16 in the presence of IIR signaling can also result in tumorigenic activity, which counteracts robust lifespan extension. In contrast to the cell-autonomous IIR signaling, which is required for larval germline proliferation, activation of DAF-16 in the hypodermis results in hyperplasia of the germline and disruption of the surrounding basement membrane. SHC-1 adaptor protein and AKT-1 kinase antagonize, whereas AKT-2 and SGK-1 kinases promote, this cell-nonautonomous DAF-16 function. Our data suggest that a functional balance of DAF-16 activities in different tissues determines longevity and reveals a novel, cell-nonautonomous role of FOXO/DAF-16 to affect stem cells.
Project description:The Caenorhabditis elegans insulin-like signaling network supports homeostasis and developmental plasticity. The genome encodes 40 insulin-like peptides and one known receptor. Feedback regulation has been reported, but the extent of feedback and its effect on signaling dynamics in response to changes in nutrient availability has not been determined. We measured messenger RNA expression for each insulin-like peptide, the receptor daf-2, components of the PI3K pathway, and its transcriptional effectors daf-16/FoxO and skn-1/Nrf at high temporal resolution during transition from a starved, quiescent state to a fed, growing state in wild type and mutants affecting daf-2/InsR and daf-16/FoxO. We also analyzed the effect of temperature on insulin-like gene expression. We found that most PI3K pathway components and insulin-like peptides are affected by signaling activity, revealing pervasive positive and negative feedback regulation at intra- and intercellular levels. Reporter gene analysis demonstrated that the daf-2/InsR agonist daf-28 positively regulates its own transcription and that the putative agonist ins-6 cross-regulates DAF-28 protein expression through feedback. Our results show that positive and negative feedback regulation of insulin-like signaling is widespread, giving rise to an organismal FoxO-to-FoxO signaling network that supports homeostasis during fluctuations in nutrient availability.
Project description:Argonaute (AGO) proteins partner with microRNAs (miRNAs) to target specific genes for post-transcriptional regulation. During larval development in Caenorhabditis elegans, Argonaute-Like Gene 1 (ALG-1) is the primary mediator of the miRNA pathway, while the related ALG-2 protein is largely dispensable. Here we show that in adult C. elegans these AGOs are differentially expressed and, surprisingly, work in opposition to each other; alg-1 promotes longevity, whereas alg-2 restricts lifespan. Transcriptional profiling of adult animals revealed that distinct miRNAs and largely non-overlapping sets of protein-coding genes are misregulated in alg-1 and alg-2 mutants. Interestingly, many of the differentially expressed genes are downstream targets of the Insulin/ IGF-1 Signaling (IIS) pathway, which controls lifespan by regulating the activity of the DAF-16/ FOXO transcription factor. Consistent with this observation, we show that daf-16 is required for the extended lifespan of alg-2 mutants. Furthermore, the long lifespan of daf-2 insulin receptor mutants, which depends on daf-16, is strongly reduced in animals lacking alg-1 activity. This work establishes an important role for AGO-mediated gene regulation in aging C. elegans and illustrates that the activity of homologous genes can switch from complementary to antagonistic, depending on the life stage.