22 research outputs found

    Regulated spatial organization and sensitivity of cytosolic protein oxidation in Caenorhabditis elegans

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    Cells adjust their behavior in response to redox events by regulating protein activity through the reversible formation of disulfide bridges between cysteine thiols. However, the spatial and temporal control of these modifications remains poorly understood in multicellular organisms. Here, we measured the protein thiol-disulfide balance in live C. elegans using a genetically-encoded redox sensor and found that it is specific to tissues and patterned spatially within a tissue. Insulin signaling regulates the sensor's oxidation at both of these levels. Unexpectedly, we found that isogenic individuals exhibit large differences in the sensor's thiol-disulfide balance. This variation contrasts with the general view that glutathione acts as the main cellular redox buffer. Indeed, our work suggests that glutathione converts small changes in its oxidation level into large changes in its redox potential. We therefore propose that glutathione facilitates the sensitive control of the thioldisulfide balance of target proteins in response to cellular redox events

    The temporal scaling of Caenorhabditis elegans ageing

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    The process of ageing makes death increasingly likely, but involves a random aspect that produces a wide distribution of lifespan even in homogeneous populations1,2. The study of this stochastic behaviour may link molecular mechanisms to the ageing process that determines lifespan. Here, by collecting high-precision mortality statistics from large populations, we observe that interventions as diverse as changes in diet, temperature, exposure to oxidative stress, and disruption of genes including the heat shock factor hsf-1, the hypoxia-inducible factor hif-1, and the insulin/IGF-1 pathway components daf-2, age-1, and daf-16 all alter lifespan distributions by an apparent stretching or shrinking of time. To produce such temporal scaling, each intervention must alter to the same extent throughout adult life all physiological determinants of the risk of death. Organismic ageing in Caenorhabditis elegans therefore appears to involve aspects of physiology that respond in concert to a diverse set of interventions. In this way, temporal scaling identifies a novel state variable, r(t), that governs the risk of death and whose average decay dynamics involves a single effective rate constant of ageing, kr. Interventions that produce temporal scaling influence lifespan exclusively by altering kr. Such interventions, when applied transiently even in early adulthood, temporarily alter kr with an attendant transient increase or decrease in the rate of change in r and a permanent effect on remaining lifespan. The existence of an organismal ageing dynamics that is invariant across genetic and environmental contexts provides the basis for a new, quantitative framework for evaluating how and how much specific molecular processes contribute to the aspect of ageing that determines lifespan

    Sirt1 Regulates Insulin Secretion by Repressing UCP2 in Pancreatic 尾 Cells

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    Sir2 and insulin/IGF-1 are the major pathways that impinge upon aging in lower organisms. In Caenorhabditis elegans a possible genetic link between Sir2 and the insulin/IGF-1 pathway has been reported. Here we investigate such a link in mammals. We show that Sirt1 positively regulates insulin secretion in pancreatic 尾 cells. Sirt1 represses the uncoupling protein (UCP) gene UCP2 by binding directly to the UCP2 promoter. In 尾 cell lines in which Sirt1 is reduced by SiRNA, UCP2 levels are elevated and insulin secretion is blunted. The up-regulation of UCP2 is associated with a failure of cells to increase ATP levels after glucose stimulation. Knockdown of UCP2 restores the ability to secrete insulin in cells with reduced Sirt1, showing that UCP2 causes the defect in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Food deprivation induces UCP2 in mouse pancreas, which may occur via a reduction in NAD (a derivative of niacin) levels in the pancreas and down-regulation of Sirt1. Sirt1 knockout mice display constitutively high UCP2 expression. Our findings show that Sirt1 regulates UCP2 in 尾 cells to affect insulin secretion

    Age-Dependence and Aging-Dependence: Neuronal Loss and Lifespan in a C. elegans Model of Parkinson鈥檚 Disease

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    It is often assumed, but not established, that the major neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson鈥檚 disease, are not just age-dependent (their incidence changes with time) but actually aging-dependent (their incidence is coupled to the process that determines lifespan). To determine a dependence on the aging process requires the joint probability distribution of disease onset and lifespan. For human Parkinson鈥檚 disease, such a joint distribution is not available, because the disease cuts lifespan short. To acquire a joint distribution, we resorted to an established C. elegans model of Parkinson鈥檚 disease in which the loss of dopaminergic neurons is not fatal. We find that lifespan is not correlated with the loss of individual neurons. Therefore, neuronal loss is age-dependent and aging-independent. We also find that a lifespan-extending intervention into insulin/IGF1 signaling accelerates the loss of specific dopaminergic neurons, while leaving death and neuronal loss times uncorrelated. This suggests that distinct and compartmentalized instances of the same genetically encoded insulin/IGF1 signaling machinery act independently to control neurodegeneration and lifespan in C. elegans. Although the human context might well be different, our study calls attention to the need to maintain a rigorous distinction between age-dependence and aging-dependence

    Neuronal temperature perception induces specific defenses that enable C. elegans to cope with the enhanced reactivity of hydrogen peroxide at high temperature

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    Hydrogen peroxide is the most common reactive chemical that organisms face on the microbial battlefield. The rate with which hydrogen peroxide damages biomolecules required for life increases with temperature, yet little is known about how organisms cope with this temperature-dependent threat. Here, we show that Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes use temperature information perceived by sensory neurons to cope with the temperature-dependent threat of hydrogen peroxide produced by the pathogenic bacterium Enterococcus faecium. These nematodes preemptively induce the expression of specific hydrogen peroxide defenses in response to perception of high temperature by a pair of sensory neurons. These neurons communicate temperature information to target tissues expressing those defenses via an insulin/IGF1 hormone. This is the first example of a multicellular organism inducing their defenses to a chemical when they sense an inherent enhancer of the reactivity of that chemical