DAF-16/Forkhead box O transcription factor: many paths to a single Fork(head) in the road.

Program in Gene Function and Expression, Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605, USA.
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling (Impact Factor: 8.2). 02/2011; 14(4):623-34. DOI: 10.1089/ars.2010.3490
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Caenorhabditis elegans Forkhead box O transcription factor (FOXO) homolog DAF-16 functions as a central mediator of multiple biological processes such as longevity, development, fat storage, stress resistance, and reproduction. In C. elegans, similar to other systems, DAF-16 functions as the downstream target of a conserved, well-characterized insulin/insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 signaling pathway. This cascade is comprised of an insulin/IGF-1 receptor, which signals through a conserved PI 3-kinase/AKT pathway that ultimately downregulates DAF-16/FOXO activity. Importantly, studies have shown that multiple pathways intersect with the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway and impinge on DAF-16 for their regulation. Therefore, in C. elegans, the single FOXO family member, DAF-16, integrates signals from several pathways and then regulates its many downstream target genes.

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    ABSTRACT: Insulin/IGF-1 signaling plays a central role in longevity across phylogeny. In C. elegans, the forkhead box O (FOXO) transcription factor, DAF-16, is the primary target of insulin/IGF-1 signaling, and multiple isoforms of DAF-16 (a, b, and d/f) modulate lifespan, metabolism, dauer formation, and stress resistance. Thus far, across phylogeny modulation of mammalian FOXOs and DAF-16 have focused on post-translational regulation with little focus on transcriptional regulation. In C. elegans, we have previously shown that DAF-16d/f cooperates with DAF-16a to promote longevity. In this study, we generated transgenic strains expressing near-endogenous levels of either daf-16a or daf-16d/f, and examined temporal expression of the isoforms to further define how these isoforms contribute to lifespan regulation. Here, we show that DAF-16a is sensitive both to changes in gene dosage and to alterations in the level of insulin/IGF-1 signaling. Interestingly, we find that as worms age, the intestinal expression of daf-16d/f but not daf-16a is dramatically upregulated at the level of transcription. Preventing this transcriptional upregulation shortens lifespan, indicating that transcriptional regulation of daf-16d/f promotes longevity. In an RNAi screen of transcriptional regulators, we identify elt-2 (GATA transcription factor) and swsn-1 (core subunit of SWI/SNF complex) as key modulators of daf-16d/f gene expression. ELT-2 and another GATA factor, ELT-4, promote longevity via both DAF-16a and DAF-16d/f while the components of SWI/SNF complex promote longevity specifically via DAF-16d/f. Our findings indicate that transcriptional control of C. elegans FOXO/daf-16 is an essential regulatory event. Considering the conservation of FOXO across species, our findings identify a new layer of FOXO regulation as a potential determinant of mammalian longevity and age-related diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
    Longevity & healthspan. 01/2014; 3:5.
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    ABSTRACT: Many studies on thermotolerance have been done in Caenorhabditis elegans in order to extend survival under heat stress; Daf-16, a homolog of FoxO in Caenorhabditis elegans, was detected as the key factor in thermotolerance. However, the recovery process from heat stress damage has been seldom discussed. In this study, we analyzed the roles of FoxO/Daf-16 on the recovery from heat stress damage by monitoring thrashing movement. Heat shock reduced the movement, which was restored by culturing at 20°C. Thrashing movement was not restored in the daf-16 mutant, which suggests that Daf-16 is one of the essential factors in repairing the damage. Movement restoration was promoted in the daf-2 mutant, a homolog of Insulin/IGF-1-like receptor, in a daf-16-dependent manner. In addition, heat stress decreased the expression of daf-28 and ins-7, agonists of Daf-2. Taken together, these results revealed that FoxO/Daf-16 removes heat stress damage and restores movement via inhibition of the insulin-like signaling pathway in C. elegans, suggesting that FoxO/Daf-16 plays a critical role in thermotolerance.
    Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part B, Biochemistry & molecular biology 01/2014; · 1.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Infective L3s (iL3s) of parasitic nematodes share common behavioural, morphological and developmental characteristics with the developmentally arrested (dauer) larvae of the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. It is proposed that similar molecular mechanisms regulate entry into or exit from the dauer stage in C. elegans, and the transition from free-living to parasitic forms of parasitic nematodes. In C. elegans, one of the key factors regulating the dauer transition is the insulin-like receptor (designated Ce-DAF-2) encoded by the gene Ce-daf-2. However, nothing is known about DAF-2 homologues in most parasitic nematodes. Here, using a PCR-based approach, we identified and characterized a gene (Hc-daf-2) and its inferred product (Hc-DAF-2) in Haemonchus contortus (a socioeconomically important parasitic nematode of ruminants). The sequence of Hc-DAF-2 displays significant sequence homology to insulin receptors (IRs) in both vertebrates and invertebrates, and contains conserved structural domains. A sequence encoding an important proteolytic motif (RKRR) identified in the predicted peptide sequence of Hc-DAF-2 is consistent with that of the human IR, suggesting that it is involved in the formation of the IR complex. The Hc-daf-2 gene was transcribed in all life stages of H. contortus, with a significant up-regulation in the iL3 compared with other stages. To compare patterns of expression between Hc-daf-2 and Ce-daf-2, reporter constructs fusing the Ce-daf-2 or Hc-daf-2 promoter to sequence encoding GFP were microinjected into the N2 strain of C. elegans, and transgenic lines were established and examined. Both genes showed similar patterns of expression in amphidial (head) neurons, which relate to sensation and signal transduction. Further study by heterologous genetic complementation in a daf-2-deficient strain of C. elegans (CB1370) showed partial rescue of function by Hc-daf-2. Taken together, these findings provide a first insight into the roles of Hc-daf-2/Hc-DAF-2 in the biology and development of H. contortus, particularly in the transition to parasitism.
    International journal for parasitology 04/2014; · 3.39 Impact Factor

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