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The Target of Rapamycin pathway antagonizes pha-4/FoxA to control development and aging.

Sheaffer K.L., Updike D.L., Mango S.E.

FoxA factors are critical regulators of embryonic development and postembryonic life, but little is know about the upstream pathways that modulate their activity. C. elegans pha-4 encodes a FoxA transcription factor that is required to establish the foregut in embryos and to control growth and longevity after birth. We previously identified the AAA+ ATPase homolog ruvb-1 as a potent suppressor of pha-4 mutations.Here we show that ruvb-1 is a component of the Target of Rapamycin (TOR) pathway in C. elegans (CeTOR). Both ruvb-1 and let-363/TOR control nucleolar size and promote localization of box C/D snoRNPs to nucleoli, suggesting a role in rRNA maturation. Inactivation of let-363/TOR or ruvb-1 suppresses the lethality associated with reduced pha-4 activity. The CeTOR pathway controls protein homeostasis and also contributes to adult longevity. We find that pha-4 is required to extend adult lifespan in response to reduced CeTOR signaling. Mutations in the predicted CeTOR target rsks-1/S6 kinase or in ife-2/eIF4E also reduce protein biosynthesis and extend lifespan, but only rsks-1 mutations require pha-4 for adult longevity. In addition, rsks-1, but not ife-2, can suppress the larval lethality associated with pha-4 loss-of-function mutations.The data suggest that pha-4 and the CeTOR pathway antagonize one another to regulate postembryonic development and adult longevity. We suggest a model in which nutrients promote TOR and S6 kinase signaling, which represses pha-4/FoxA, leading to a shorter lifespan. A similar regulatory hierarchy may function in other animals to modulate metabolism, longevity, or disease.

Curr. Biol. 18:1355-1364(2008) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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