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A conserved PHD finger protein and endogenous RNAi modulate insulin signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Mansisidor A.R., Cecere G., Hoersch S., Jensen M.B., Kawli T., Kennedy L.M., Chavez V., Tan M.W., Lieb J.D., Grishok A.

Insulin signaling has a profound effect on longevity and the oxidative stress resistance of animals. Inhibition of insulin signaling results in the activation of DAF-16/FOXO and SKN-1/Nrf transcription factors and increased animal fitness. By studying the biological functions of the endogenous RNA interference factor RDE-4 and conserved PHD zinc finger protein ZFP-1 (AF10), which regulate overlapping sets of genes in Caenorhabditis elegans, we identified an important role for these factors in the negative modulation of transcription of the insulin/PI3 signaling-dependent kinase PDK-1. Consistently, increased expression of pdk-1 in zfp-1 and rde-4 mutants contributed to their reduced lifespan and sensitivity to oxidative stress and pathogens due to the reduction in the expression of DAF-16 and SKN-1 targets. We found that the function of ZFP-1 in modulating pdk-1 transcription was important for the extended lifespan of the age-1(hx546) reduction-of-function PI3 kinase mutant, since the lifespan of the age-1; zfp-1 double mutant strain was significantly shorter compared to age-1(hx546). We further demonstrate that overexpression of ZFP-1 caused an increased resistance to oxidative stress in a DAF-16-dependent manner. Our findings suggest that epigenetic regulation of key upstream signaling components in signal transduction pathways through chromatin and RNAi may have a large impact on the outcome of signaling and expression of numerous downstream genes.

PLoS Genet. 7:E1002299-E1002299(2011) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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