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Keywords:

  • aging;
  • Caenorhabditis elegans ;
  • GATA;
  • gene regulation;
  • insulin signaling;
  • NuRD;
  • stress

Summary

Aging is associated with a large number of both phenotypic and molecular changes, but for most of these, it is not known whether these changes are detrimental, neutral, or protective. We have identified a conserved Caenorhabditis elegans GATA transcription factor/MTA-1 homolog egr-1 (lin-40) that extends lifespan and promotes resistance to heat and UV stress when overexpressed. Expression of egr-1 increases with age, suggesting that it may promote survival during normal aging. This increase in expression is dependent on the presence of the germline, raising the possibility that egr-1 expression is regulated by signals from the germline. In addition, loss of egr-1 suppresses the long lifespan of insulin receptor daf-2 mutants. The DAF-16 FOXO transcription factor is required for the increased stress resistance of egr-1 overexpression mutants, and egr-1 is necessary for the proper regulation of sod-3 (a reporter for DAF-16 activity). These results indicate that egr-1 acts within the insulin signaling pathway. egr-1 can also activate the expression of its paralog egl-27, another factor known to extend lifespan and increase stress resistance, suggesting that the two genes act in a common program to promote survival. These results identify egr-1 as part of a longevity-promoting circuit that changes with age in a manner that is beneficial for the lifespan of the organism.