Molecular characterization of numr-1 and numr-2: genes that increase both resistance to metal-induced stress and lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans
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To define the mechanisms involved in the molecular response to the carcinogenic metal cadmium, two novel metal-inducible genes from C. elegans were characterized: numr-1 and numr-2 (nuclear localized metal responsive). numr-1 and numr-2 sequences and cellular patterns of expression are identical, indicating that these are functionally equivalent genes. Constitutive transcription of numr-1 and numr-2 is developmentally regulated and occurs in the intestine, in head and tail neurons, and vulva muscles. Exposure to metals induces numr-1 and numr-2 transcription in pharyngeal and intestinal cells. Other environmental stressors do not affect transcription, indicating that these are metal-specific, stress-responsive genes. NUMR-1 and NUMR-2 target to nuclei and colocalize with HSF-1, suggesting that they may be components of nuclear stress granules. Nematodes overexpressing NUMR-1 and NUMR-2 are resistant to stress and live longer than control animals; likewise reducing expression increases sensitivity to metals and decreases neuromuscular functions. Upstream regulatory regions of both genes contain potential binding sites for DAF-16 and SKN-1, which are components of the insulin-IGF-like signaling pathway. This pathway regulates longevity and stress responses in C. elegans. NUMR-1 and NUMR-2 may function to promote resistance to environmental stressors and longevity, which is mediated by the insulin-IGF-like signaling pathway.
shock transcription factor-1
unfolded protein response