Aging and longevity are complex traits influenced by genetic and environmental factors. To identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that control replicative lifespan, we employed an outbred Saccharomyces cerevisiae model, generated by crossing a vineyard and a laboratory strain. The predominant QTL mapped to the rDNA, with the vineyard rDNA conferring a lifespan increase of 41%. The lifespan extension was independent of Sir2 and Fob1, but depended on a polymorphism in the rDNA origin of replication from the vineyard strain that reduced origin activation relative to the laboratory origin. Strains carrying vineyard rDNA origins have increased capacity for replication initiation at weak plasmid and genomic origins, suggesting that inability to complete genome replication presents a major impediment to replicative lifespan. Calorie restriction, a conserved mediator of lifespan extension that is also independent of Sir2 and Fob1, reduces rDNA origin firing in both laboratory and vineyard rDNA. Our results are consistent with the possibility that calorie restriction, similarly to the vineyard rDNA polymorphism, modulates replicative lifespan through control of rDNA origin activation, which in turn affects genome replication dynamics.
Although many aging regulators have been discovered, we are still uncovering how each contributes to the basic biology underlying cell lifespan and how certain longevity-promoting regimens, such as calorie restriction, manipulate the aging process across species. Since many cellular aging processes between human cells and budding yeast are related, we examined a collection of genetically diverse yeast and discovered that a genetic variant in vineyard yeast confers a 41% lifespan increase. The responsible sequence in the vineyard yeast reduces the amount of DNA replication that initiates at the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) locus, a chromosome-sized region of the genome that is dedicated to the production of ribosomal RNA required for protein synthesis and growth. Strikingly, we find that calorie restriction conditions also reduce rDNA replication, potentially promoting longevity by the same mechanism. While the rDNA has been previously linked to lifespan control, how this single locus affects global cell function has remained elusive. We find that a weakly replicating rDNA promotes DNA replication across the rest of the cell's genome, perhaps through the re-allocation of replication resources from decreased rDNA demand. Our findings suggest that the cell's inability to complete genome replication is one of the major impediments to yeast longevity.
Research into the biology of aging seeks to understand the basic mechanisms of aging, with the goal of extending the period of life spent free from chronic disease and disability. Aging results from molecular processes that are modulated by genetic and environmental parameters. At least some of these mechanisms of aging are broadly shared across eukaryotic species from yeast to mice, and likely humans, as well. Recent breakthroughs in aging-related research have identified conserved longevity factors, such as components of the insulin-like signaling pathway and the mechanistic target of rapamycin, and have suggested potential paths toward developing the first interventions to slow aging in humans.
Activation of Sir2-orthologs is proposed to increase lifespan downstream of dietary restriction (DR). Here we describe an examination of the effect of 32 different lifespan-extending mutations and four methods of dietary restriction on replicative lifespan (RLS) in the short-lived sir2Δ yeast strain. In every case, deletion of SIR2 prevented RLS extension; however, RLS extension was restored when both SIR2 and FOB1 were deleted in several cases, demonstrating that SIR2 is not directly required for RLS extension. These findings indicate that suppression of the sir2Δ lifespan defect is a rare phenotype among longevity interventions and suggest that sir2Δ cells senesce rapidly by a mechanism distinct from that of wild-type cells. They also demonstrate that failure to observe life span extension in a short-lived background, such as cells or animals lacking sirtuins, should be interpreted with caution.
aging; replicative lifespan; longevity; yeast; epistasis
Dietary restriction (DR) extends lifespan in yeast, worms, flies and mammals, suggesting that it may act via conserved processes. However, the downstream mechanisms by which DR increases lifespan remain unclear. We used a gel based proteomic strategy to identify proteins whose expression was induced by DR in yeast and thus may correlate with longevity. One protein up-regulated by DR was Hsp12, a small heat shock protein induced by various manipulations known to retard ageing. Lifespan extension by growth on 0.5% glucose (DR) was abolished in an hsp12Δ strain, indicating that Hsp12 is essential for the longevity effect of DR. In contrast, deletion of HSP12 had no effect on growth under DR conditions or a variety of environmental stresses, indicating that the effect of Hsp12 on lifespan is not due to increased general stress resistance. Unlike other small heat shock proteins, recombinant Hsp12 displayed negligible in vitro molecular chaperone activity, suggesting that its cellular function does not involve preventing protein aggregation. NMR analysis indicated that Hsp12 is monomeric and intrinsically unfolded in solution, but switches to a 4-helical conformation upon binding to membrane-mimetic SDS micelles. The structure of micelle-bound Hsp12 reported here is consistent with its recently proposed function as a membrane-stabilising ‘lipid chaperone’. Taken together, our data suggest that DR-induced Hsp12 expression contributes to lifespan extension, possibly via membrane alterations.
Here we show that in aging Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast) cells, NH4+ induces cell death associated with shortening of chronological life span. This effect is positively correlated with the concentration of NH4+ added to the culture medium and is particularly evident when cells are starved for auxotrophy-complementing amino acids. NH4+-induced cell death is accompanied by an initial small increase of apoptotic cells followed by extensive necrosis. Autophagy is inhibited by NH4+, but this does not cause a decrease in cell viability. We propose that the toxic effects of NH4+ are mediated by activation of PKA and TOR and inhibition of Sch9p. Our data show that NH4+ induces cell death in aging cultures through the regulation of evolutionary conserved pathways. They may also provide new insights into longevity regulation in multicellular organisms and increase our understanding of human disorders such as hyperammonemia as well as effects of amino acid deprivation employed as a therapeutic strategy.
Chronological life span (CLS) has been studied as an aging paradigm in yeast. A few conserved aging genes have been identified that modulate both chronological and replicative longevity in yeast as well as longevity in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans; however, a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between genetic control of chronological longevity and aging in other model systems has yet to be reported. To address this question, we performed a functional genomic analysis of chronological longevity for 550 single-gene deletion strains, which accounts for approximately 12% of the viable homozygous diploid deletion strains in the yeast ORF deletion collection. This study identified 33 previously unknown determinants of CLS. We found no significant enrichment for enhanced CLS among deletions corresponding to yeast orthologs of worm aging genes or among replicatively long-lived deletion strains, although a trend toward overlap was noted. In contrast, a subset of gene deletions identified from a screen for reduced acidification of culture media during growth to stationary phase was enriched for increased CLS. These results suggest that genetic control of CLS under the most commonly utilized assay conditions does not strongly overlap with longevity determinants in C. elegans, with the existing confined to a small number of genetic pathways. These data also further support the model that acidification of the culture medium plays an important role in survival during chronological aging in synthetic medium, and suggest that chronological aging studies using alternate medium conditions may be more informative with regard to aging of multicellular eukaryotes.
aging; genomic; screen; lifespan; yeast; C. elegans; pH; chronological; replicative
In this, the fourth installment of our annual Hot Topics review on mRNA translation and aging, we have decided to expand our scope to include recent findings related to the role of TOR signaling in aging. As new data emerge, it is clear that TOR signaling acts upstream of mRNA translation, as well as a variety of other cellular processes, to modulate longevity and healthspan in evolutionarily diverse species. This Hot Topics review will cover important new findings in this area that have occurred over the past year. These include the demonstration that the TOR substrate ribosomal S6 kinase modulates longevity in mammals, the potential for TOR inhibitors as therapeutic treatments for Alzheimer's disease, and further studies emphasizing the importance of differential translation of specific mRNAs for healthy aging and enhanced longevity.
TORC1; mTOR; S6K1; rapamycin; longevity; dietary restriction; mRNA translation; ribosome
Over-expression of sirtuins (NAD+-dependent protein deacetylases) has been reported to increase lifespan in budding yeast, Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster1-3. Studies of gene effects on ageing are vulnerable to confounding effects of genetic background4. We re-examined the reported effects of sirtuin over-expression on ageing and found that standardisation of genetic background and use of appropriate controls abolished the apparent effects in both C. elegans and Drosophila. In C. elegans, outcrossing of a line with high level sir-2.1 over-expression1 abrogated the longevity increase, but not sir-2.1 over-expression. Instead, longevity co-segregated with a second-site mutation affecting sensory neurons. Outcrossing of a line with low copy number sir-2.1 over-expression2 also abrogated longevity. A Drosophila strain with ubiquitous over-expression of dSir2 using the UAS-GAL4 system was long-lived relative to wild-type controls, as previously reported3, but not relative to the appropriate transgenic controls, and nor was a new line with stronger over-expression of dSir2. These findings underscore the importance of controlling for genetic background and the mutagenic effects of transgene insertions in studies of genetic effects on lifespan. The life extending effect of dietary restriction (DR) on ageing in Drosophila has also been reported to be dSir2 dependent3. We found that DR increased fly lifespan independently of dSir2. Our findings do not rule out a role for sirtuins in determination of metazoan lifespan, but they do cast doubt on the robustness of the previously reported effects on lifespan in C. elegans and Drosophila.
Ageing; C. elegans; Drosophila; sirtuin; genetic background
Endurance exercise is an inexpensive intervention that is thought to provide substantial protection against several age-related pathologies, as well as inducing acute changes to endurance capacity and metabolism. Recently, it has been established that endurance exercise induces conserved alterations in physiological capacity in the invertebrate Drosophila model. If the genetic factors underlying these exercise-induced physiological alterations are widely conserved, then invertebrate genetic model systems will become a valuable tool for testing of genetic and pharmacological mimetics for endurance training. Here, we assess whether the Drosophila homolog of the vertebrate exercise response gene PGC-1α spargel (srl) is necessary or sufficient to induce exercise-dependent phenotypes. We find that reduction of srl expression levels acutely compromises negative geotaxis ability and reduces exercise-induced improvement in both negative geotaxis and time to exhaustion. Conversely, muscle/heart specific srl overexpression improves negative geotaxis and cardiac performance in unexercised flies. In addition, we find that srl overexpression mimics some, but not all, exercise-induced phenotypes, suggesting that other factors also act in parallel to srl to regulate exercise-induced physiological changes in muscle and heart.
Reduced fecundity has been associated with some alleles that enhance longevity in invertebrate and mammalian models. This observation has been suggested to support the antagonistic pleiotropy theory of aging, which predicts that alleles of some genes promoting fitness early in life have detrimental effects later in life that limit survival. In only a few cases, however, has the relative fitness of long-lived mutants been quantified through direct competition with the wild type genotype. Here we report the first comprehensive analysis of longevity/fitness trade-offs by measuring the relative fitness of 49 long-lived yeast variants in a direct competition assay with wild type cells. We find that 32 (65%) of these variants show a significant defect in fitness in this competition assay. In 26 (81%) of these cases, this reduction in fitness can be partially accounted for by reduced maximal growth rate during early life, usually resulting from a G0/G1-specific cell cycle defect. A majority of the less fit longevity-enhancing variants are associated with reduced mRNA translation. These findings are therefore consistent with the idea that enhanced longevity often comes with a fitness cost and suggest that this cost is often associated with variation in a subset of longevity factors, such as those regulating mRNA translation, growth and reproduction.
yeast; aging; antagonistic pleiotropy; fitness; translation; longevity; evolution
Dietary restriction (DR), the limitation of calorie intake while maintaining proper nutrition, has been found to extend life span and delay the onset of age-associated disease in a wide range of species. Previous studies have suggested that DR can reduce the lethality of environmental toxins. To further examine the role of DR in toxin response, we measured life spans of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans treated with the mutagenic polyaromatic hydrocarbon, fluoranthene (FLA). FLA is a direct byproduct of combustion, and is one of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's sixteen priority environmental toxins. Treatment with 5 µg/ml FLA shortened the life spans of ad libitum fed nematodes, and DR resulted in increased sensitivity to FLA. To determine the role of detoxifying enzymes in the toxicity of FLA, we tested nematodes with mutations in the gene encoding the MDT-15 subunit of mediator, a transcriptional coactivator that regulates genes involved in fatty acid metabolism and detoxification. Mutation of mdt-15 increased the life span of FLA treated animals compared to wild-type animals with no difference observed between DR and ad libitum fed mdt-15 animals. We also examined mutants with altered insulin-IGF-1-like signaling (IIS), which is known to modulate life span and stress resistance in C. elegans independently of DR. Mutation of the genes coding for the insulin-like receptor DAF-2 or the FOXO-family transcription factor DAF16 did not alter the animals' susceptibility to FLA compared to wild type. Taken together, our results suggest that certain compounds have increased toxicity when combined with a DR regimen through increased metabolic activation. This increased metabolic activation appears to be mediated through the MDT-15 transcription factor and is independent of the IIS pathway.
The naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a long-lived, cancer resistant rodent and there is a great interest in identifying the adaptations responsible for these and other of its unique traits. We employed RNA sequencing to compare liver gene expression profiles between naked mole-rats and wild-derived mice. Our results indicate that genes associated with oxidoreduction and mitochondria were expressed at higher relative levels in naked mole-rats. The largest effect is nearly 300-fold higher expression of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (Epcam), a tumour-associated protein. Also of interest are the protease inhibitor, alpha2-macroglobulin (A2m), and the mitochondrial complex II subunit Sdhc, both ageing-related genes found strongly over-expressed in the naked mole-rat. These results hint at possible candidates for specifying species differences in ageing and cancer, and in particular suggest complex alterations in mitochondrial and oxidation reduction pathways in the naked mole-rat. Our differential gene expression analysis obviated the need for a reference naked mole-rat genome by employing a combination of Illumina/Solexa and 454 platforms for transcriptome sequencing and assembling transcriptome contigs of the non-sequenced species. Overall, our work provides new research foci and methods for studying the naked mole-rat's fascinating characteristics.
Chronological aging has been studied extensively in laboratory yeast by culturing cells into stationary phase in synthetic complete medium with 2% glucose as the carbon source. During this process, acidification of the culture medium occurs due to secretion of organic acids, including acetic acid, which limits survival of yeast cells. Dietary restriction or buffering the medium to pH 6 prevents acidification and increases chronological life span. Here we set out to determine whether these effects are specific to laboratory-derived yeast by testing the chronological aging properties of the vineyard yeast strain RM11. Similar to the laboratory strain BY4743 and its haploid derivatives, RM11 and its haploid derivatives displayed increased chronological life span from dietary restriction, buffering the pH of the culture medium, or aging in rich medium. RM11 and BY4743 also displayed generally similar aging and growth characteristics when cultured in a variety of different carbon sources. These data support the idea that mechanisms of chronological aging are similar in both the laboratory and vineyard strains.
Aging is characterized by the accumulation of damaged cellular macromolecules caused by declining repair and elimination pathways. An integral component employed by cells to counter toxic protein aggregates is the conserved ubiquitin/proteasome system (UPS). Previous studies have described an age-dependent decline of proteasomal function and increased longevity correlates with sustained proteasome capacity in centenarians and in naked mole rats, a long-lived rodent. Proof for a direct impact of enhanced proteasome function on longevity, however, is still lacking. To determine the importance of proteasome function in yeast aging, we established a method to modulate UPS capacity by manipulating levels of the UPS–related transcription factor Rpn4. While cells lacking RPN4 exhibit a decreased non-adaptable proteasome pool, loss of UBR2, an ubiquitin ligase that regulates Rpn4 turnover, results in elevated Rpn4 levels, which upregulates UPS components. Increased UPS capacity significantly enhances replicative lifespan (RLS) and resistance to proteotoxic stress, while reduced UPS capacity has opposing consequences. Despite tight transcriptional co-regulation of the UPS and oxidative detoxification systems, the impact of proteasome capacity on lifespan is independent of the latter, since elimination of Yap1, a key regulator of the oxidative stress response, does not affect lifespan extension of cells with higher proteasome capacity. Moreover, since elevated proteasome capacity results in improved clearance of toxic huntingtin fragments in a yeast model for neurodegenerative diseases, we speculate that the observed lifespan extension originates from prolonged elimination of damaged proteins in old mother cells. Epistasis analyses indicate that proteasome-mediated modulation of lifespan is at least partially distinct from dietary restriction, Tor1, and Sir2. These findings demonstrate that UPS capacity determines yeast RLS by a mechanism that is distinct from known longevity pathways and raise the possibility that interventions to promote enhanced proteasome function will have beneficial effects on longevity and age-related disease in humans.
The ubiquitin/proteasome system (UPS) is an integral part of the machinery that maintains cellular protein homeostasis and represents the major pathway for specific protein degradation in the cytoplasm and nuclei of eukaryotic cells. Its proteolytic capacity declines with age. In parallel, substrate load for the UPS increases in aging cells due to accumulated protein damage. This imbalance is thought to be an origin for the frequently observed accumulation of protein aggregates in aged cells and is thought to contribute to age-related cellular dysfunction. In this study, we investigated the impact of proteasome capacity on replicative lifespan in Saccharomyces cerevisiae using a genetic system that allows manipulation of UPS abundance at the transcriptional level. The results obtained reveal a positive correlation between proteasome capacity and longevity, with reduced lifespan in cells with low proteasome abundance or activity and strong lifespan extension upon up-regulation of the UPS in a mechanism that is at least partially independent of known yeast longevity modulating pathways. The same correlation is observed for oxidative and protein stress tolerance and clearance of toxic huntingtin fragments in a yeast model for neurodegenerative diseases, suggesting that lifespan extension by increased proteasome capacity is caused by improved protein homeostasis.
The conserved DAF-16/FOXO transcription factors and SIR-2.1/SIRT1 deacetylases are critical for diverse biological processes, particularly longevity and stress response; and complex regulation of DAF-16/FOXO by SIR-2.1/SIRT1 is central to appropriate biological outcomes. Caenorhabditis elegans Host Cell Factor 1 (HCF-1) is a longevity determinant previously shown to act as a co-repressor of DAF-16. We report here that HCF-1 represents an integral player in the regulatory loop linking SIR-2.1/SIRT1 and DAF-16/FOXO in both worms and mammals. Genetic analyses showed that hcf-1 acts downstream of sir-2.1 to influence lifespan and oxidative stress response in C. elegans. Gene expression profiling revealed a striking 80% overlap between the DAF-16 target genes responsive to hcf-1 mutation and sir-2.1 overexpression. Subsequent GO-term analyses of HCF-1 and SIR-2.1-coregulated DAF-16 targets suggested that HCF-1 and SIR-2.1 together regulate specific aspects of DAF-16-mediated transcription particularly important for aging and stress responses. Analogous to its role in regulating DAF-16/SIR-2.1 target genes in C. elegans, the mammalian HCF-1 also repressed the expression of several FOXO/SIRT1 target genes. Protein–protein association studies demonstrated that SIR-2.1/SIRT1 and HCF-1 form protein complexes in worms and mammalian cells, highlighting the conservation of their regulatory relationship. Our findings uncover a conserved interaction between the key longevity determinants SIR-2.1/SIRT1 and HCF-1, and they provide new insights into the complex regulation of FOXO proteins.
The nematode C. elegans has been instrumental in identifying and characterizing genetic components that influence aging. Studies in worms have been successfully extended to complex mammalian organisms allowing for the identification of genetic factors that impact longevity in mammals. DAF-16/FOXO transcription factors are among the best characterized longevity factors, and their increased activity leads to a longer lifespan and improved stress resistance in many organisms. Elucidating how the activities of DAF-16/FOXO are regulated will provide new insights into the basic biology of aging and will aid future therapeutic developments aiming to improve healthy aging and alleviate age-related diseases in humans. We utilized both C. elegans and mammalian cell culture systems to dissect the functional and molecular interactions between two important DAF-16 regulators, HCF-1 and SIR-2.1/SIRT1. We demonstrated that HCF-1 and SIR-2.1/SIRT1 physically associate and antagonize each other to properly regulate DAF-16/FOXO-mediated expression of genes important for longevity and stress response. We further showed that the functional relationships among these three proteins are conserved in mammals. Our work implicates HCF-1 as an important player in the regulation of FOXO by SIRT1, and thereby a potential longevity determinant in humans, and prompts further characterization of HCF-1's functions in aging and age-related pathologies.
Apoptosis is a natural process during animal development for the programmed removal of superfluous cells. During apoptosis general protein synthesis is reduced, but the synthesis of cell death proteins is enhanced. Selective translation has been attributed to modification of the protein synthesis machinery to disrupt cap-dependent mRNA translation and induce a cap-independent mechanism. We have previously shown that disruption of the balance between cap-dependent and cap-independent C. elegans eIF4G isoforms (IFG-1 p170 and p130) by RNA interference promotes apoptosis in developing oocytes. Germ cell apoptosis was accompanied by the appearance of the Apaf-1 homolog, CED-4. Here we show that IFG-1 p170 is a native substrate of the worm executioner caspase, CED-3, just as mammalian eIF4GI is cleaved by caspase-3. Loss of Bcl-2 function (ced-9ts) in worms induced p170 cleavage in vivo, coincident with extensive germ cell apoptosis. Truncation of IFG-1 occurred at a single site that separates the cap-binding and ribosome-associated domains. Site-directed mutagenesis indicated that CED-3 processes IFG-1 at a non-canonical motif, TTTD456. Coincidentally, the recognition site was located 65 amino acids downstream of the newly mapped IFG-1 p130 start site suggesting that both forms support cap-independent initiation. Genetic evidence confirmed that apoptosis induced by loss of ifg-1 p170 mRNA was caspase (ced-3) and apoptosome (ced-4/Apaf-1) dependent. These findings support a new paradigm in which modal changes in protein synthesis act as a physiological signal to initiate cell death, rather than occur merely as downstream consequences of the apoptotic event.
One of the most important challenges in the study of aging is to discover compounds with longevity-promoting activities and to unravel their underlying mechanisms. Royal jelly (RJ) has been reported to possess diverse beneficial properties. Furthermore, protease-treated RJ (pRJ) has additional pharmacological activities. Exactly how RJ and pRJ exert these effects and which of their components are responsible for these effects are largely unknown. The evolutionarily conserved mechanisms that control longevity have been indicated. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether RJ and its related substances exert a lifespan-extending function in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and to gain insights into the active agents in RJ and their mechanism of action.
We found that both RJ and pRJ extended the lifespan of C. elegans. The lifespan-extending activity of pRJ was enhanced by Octadecyl-silica column chromatography (pRJ-Fraction 5). pRJ-Fr.5 increased the animals' lifespan in part by acting through the FOXO transcription factor DAF-16, the activation of which is known to promote longevity in C. elegans by reducing insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS). pRJ-Fr.5 reduced the expression of ins-9, one of the insulin-like peptide genes. Moreover, pRJ-Fr.5 and reduced IIS shared some common features in terms of their effects on gene expression, such as the up-regulation of dod-3 and the down-regulation of dod-19, dao-4 and fkb-4. 10-Hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10-HDA), which was present at high concentrations in pRJ-Fr.5, increased lifespan independently of DAF-16 activity.
These results demonstrate that RJ and its related substances extend lifespan in C. elegans, suggesting that RJ may contain longevity-promoting factors. Further analysis and characterization of the lifespan-extending agents in RJ and pRJ may broaden our understanding of the gene network involved in longevity regulation in diverse species and may lead to the development of nutraceutical interventions in the aging process.
Aging is a degenerative process characterized by a progressive deterioration of cellular components and organelles resulting in mortality. The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used extensively to study the biology of aging, and several determinants of yeast longevity have been shown to be conserved in multicellular eukaryotes, including worms, flies, and mice 1. Due to the lack of easily quantified age-associated phenotypes, aging in yeast has been assayed almost exclusively by measuring the life span of cells in different contexts, with two different life span paradigms in common usage 2. Chronological life span refers to the length of time that a mother cell can survive in a non-dividing, quiescence-like state, and is proposed to serve as a model for aging of post-mitotic cells in multicellular eukaryotes. Replicative life span, in contrast, refers the number of daughter cells produced by a mother cell prior to senescence, and is thought to provide a model of aging in mitotically active cells. Here we present a generalized protocol for measuring the replicative life span of budding yeast mother cells. The goal of the replicative life span assay is to determine how many times each mother cell buds. The mother and daughter cells can be easily differentiated by an experienced researcher using a standard light microscope (total magnification 160X), such as the Zeiss Axioscope 40 or another comparable model. Physical separation of daughter cells from mother cells is achieved using a manual micromanipulator equipped with a fiber-optic needle. Typical laboratory yeast strains produce 20-30 daughter cells per mother and one life span experiment requires 2-3 weeks.
The protein L-isoaspartyl-O-methyltransferase functions to initiate the repair of isomerized aspartyl and asparaginyl residues that spontaneously accumulate with age in a variety of organisms. Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes lacking the pcm-1 gene encoding this enzyme display a normal lifespan and phenotype under standard laboratory growth conditions. However, significant defects in development, egg laying, dauer survival, and autophagy have been observed in pcm-1 mutant nematodes when deprived of food and when exposed to oxidative stress. Interestingly, overexpression of this repair enzyme in both Drosophila and C. elegans extends adult lifespan under thermal stress. In this work, we show the involvement of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1 signaling (IIS) pathway in PCM-1-dependent lifespan extension in C. elegans. We demonstrate that reducing the levels of the DAF-16 downstream transcriptional effector of the IIS pathway by RNA interference reduces the lifespan extension resulting from PCM-1 overexpression. Using quantitative real-time PCR analysis, we show the up-regulation of DAF-16-dependent stress response genes in the PCM-1 overexpressor animals compared to wild-type and pcm-1 mutant nematodes under mild thermal stress conditions. Additionally, similar to other long-lived C. elegans mutants in the IIS pathway, including daf-2 and age-1 mutants, PCM-1 overexpressor adult animals display increased resistance to severe thermal stress, whereas pcm-1 mutant animals survive less long under these conditions. Although we observe a higher accumulation of damaged proteins in pcm-1 mutant nematodes, the basal level of isoaspartyl residues detected in wild-type animals was not reduced by PCM-1 overexpression. Our results support a signaling role for the protein L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase in lifespan extension that involves the IIS pathway, but that may be independent of its function in overall protein repair.
Bax inhibitor-1 (BI-1) is an anti-apoptotic gene whose expression is upregulated in a wide range of human cancers. Studies in both mammalian and plant cells suggest that the BI-1 protein resides in the endoplasmic reticulum and is involved in the unfolded protein response (UPR) that is triggered by ER stress. It is thought to act via a mechanism involving altered calcium dynamics. In this paper, we provide evidence that the Saccharomyces cerevisiae protein encoded by the open reading frame, YNL305C, is a bona fide homolog for BI-1. First, we confirm that yeast cells from two different strain backgrounds lacking YNL305C, which we have renamed BXI1, are more sensitive to heat-shock induced cell death than wildtype controls even though they have indistinguishable growth rates at 30°C. They are also more susceptible both to ethanol-induced and to glucose-induced programmed cell death. Significantly, we show that Bxi1p-GFP colocalizes with the ER localized protein Sec63p-RFP. We have also discovered that Δbxi1 cells are not only more sensitive to drugs that induce ER stress, but also have a decreased unfolded protein response as measured with a UPRE-lacZ reporter. Finally, we have discovered that deleting BXI1 diminishes the calcium signaling response in response to the accumulation of unfolded proteins in the ER as measured by a calcineurin-dependent CDRE-lacZ reporter. In toto, our data suggests that the Bxi1p, like its metazoan homologs, is an ER-localized protein that links the unfolded protein response and programmed cell death.
Aging is a degenerative process characterized by a progressive deterioration of cellular components and organelles resulting in mortality. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has emerged as a principal model used to study the biology of aging. Because virtually every biological subsystem undergoes functional decline with increasing age, life span is the primary endpoint of interest when considering total rate of aging. In nematodes, life span is typically defined as the number of days an animal remains responsive to external stimuli. Nematodes can be propagated either in liquid media or on solid media in plates, and techniques have been developed for measuring life span under both conditions. Here we present a generalized protocol for measuring life span of nematodes maintained on solid nematode growth media and fed a diet of UV-killed bacteria. These procedures can easily be adapted to assay life span under various common conditions, including a diet consisting of live bacteria, dietary restriction, and RNA interference.
The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has proven to be an important model organism in the field of aging research 1. The replicative and chronological life spans are two established paradigms used to study aging in yeast. Replicative aging is defined as the number of daughter cells a single yeast mother cell produces before senescence; chronological aging is defined by the length of time cells can survive in a non-dividing, quiescence-like state 2. We have developed a high-throughput method for quantitative measurement of chronological life span. This method involves aging the cells in a defined medium under agitation and at constant temperature. At each age-point, a sub-population of cells is removed from the aging culture and inoculated into rich growth medium. A high-resolution growth curve is then obtained for this sub-population of aged cells using a Bioscreen C MBR machine. An algorithm is then applied to determine the relative proportion of viable cells in each sub-population based on the growth kinetics at each age-point. This method requires substantially less time and resources compared to other chronological lifespan assays while maintaining reproducibility and precision. The high-throughput nature of this assay should allow for large-scale genetic and chemical screens to identify novel longevity modifiers for further testing in more complex organisms.
Protons, the smallest and most ubiquitous of ions, are central to physiological processes. Transmembrane proton gradients drive ATP synthesis, metabolite transport, receptor recycling and vesicle trafficking, while compartmental pH controls enzyme function. Despite this fundamental importance, the mechanisms underlying pH homeostasis are not entirely accounted for in any organelle or organism. We undertook a genome-wide survey of vacuole pH (pHv) in 4,606 single-gene deletion mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae under control, acid and alkali stress conditions to reveal the vacuolar pH-stat. Median pHv (5.27±0.13) was resistant to acid stress (5.28±0.14) but shifted significantly in response to alkali stress (5.83±0.13). Of 107 mutants that displayed aberrant pHv under more than one external pH condition, functional categories of transporters, membrane biogenesis and trafficking machinery were significantly enriched. Phospholipid flippases, encoded by the family of P4-type ATPases, emerged as pH regulators, as did the yeast ortholog of Niemann Pick Type C protein, implicated in sterol trafficking. An independent genetic screen revealed that correction of pHv dysregulation in a neo1ts mutant restored viability whereas cholesterol accumulation in human NPC1−/− fibroblasts diminished upon treatment with a proton ionophore. Furthermore, while it is established that lumenal pH affects trafficking, this study revealed a reciprocal link with many mutants defective in anterograde pathways being hyperacidic and retrograde pathway mutants with alkaline vacuoles. In these and other examples, pH perturbations emerge as a hitherto unrecognized phenotype that may contribute to the cellular basis of disease and offer potential therapeutic intervention through pH modulation.
Insulin/IGF-I-like signaling (IIS) has both cell autonomous and non-autonomous functions. In some cases, targets through which IIS regulates cell-autonomous functions, such as cell growth and metabolism, have been identified. In contrast, targets for many non-autonomous IIS functions, such as C. elegans dauer morphogenesis, remain elusive. Here, we report the use of genomic and genetic approaches to identify potential non-autonomous targets of C. elegans IIS. First, we used transcriptional microarrays to identify target genes regulated non-autonomously by IIS in the intestine or in neurons. C. elegans IIS controls expression of a number of stress response genes, which were differentially regulated by tissue-restricted IIS. In particular, expression of sod-3, a MnSOD enzyme, was not regulated by tissue-restricted IIS on the microarrays, while expression of hsp-16 genes was rescued back to wildtype by tissue restricted IIS. One IIS target regulated non-autonomously by age-1 was cyp-35B1/dod-13, encoding a cytochrome P450. Genetic analysis of the cyp-35B1 promoter showed both DAF-16 and HSF-1 are direct regulators. Based on these findings, we propose that hsf-1 may participate in the pathways mediating non-autonomous activities of age-1 in C. elegans.
Burkholderia pseudomallei is the causative agent of melioidosis, a disease of significant morbidity and mortality in both human and animals in endemic areas. Much remains to be known about the contributions of genotypic variations within the bacteria and the host, and environmental factors that lead to the manifestation of the clinical symptoms of melioidosis.
In this study, we showed that different isolates of B. pseudomallei have divergent ability to kill the soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The rate of nematode killing was also dependent on growth media: B. pseudomallei grown on peptone-glucose media killed C. elegans more rapidly than bacteria grown on the nematode growth media. Filter and bacteria cell-free culture filtrate assays demonstrated that the extent of killing observed is significantly less than that observed in the direct killing assay. Additionally, we showed that B. pseudomallei does not persistently accumulate within the C. elegans gut as brief exposure to B. pseudomallei is not sufficient for C. elegans infection.
A combination of genetic and environmental factors affects virulence. In addition, we have also demonstrated that a Burkholderia-specific mechanism mediating the pathogenic effect in C. elegans requires proliferating B. pseudomallei to continuously produce toxins to mediate complete killing.