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J Biol Chem. 2004 Aug 27;279(35):36739-45. Epub 2004 May 19.

Deletion of the intestinal peptide transporter affects insulin and TOR signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Acolph-Butenandt-Institute/Molecular Neurogenetics, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, D-80336 Munich, Germany.


The mammalian intestinal peptide transporter PEPT1 mediates the uptake of di- and tripeptides from the gut lumen into intestinal epithelial cells and acts in parallel with amino acid transporters. Here we address the importance of the PEPT1 orthologue PEP-2 for the assimilation of dietary protein and for overall protein nutrition in Caenorhabditis elegans. pep-2 is expressed specifically along the apical membrane of the intestinal cells, and in pep-2 deletion mutant animals, uptake of intact peptides from the gut lumen is abolished. The consequences are a severely retarded development, reduced progeny and body size, and increased stress tolerance. We show here that pep-2 cross-talks with both the C. elegans target of rapamycin (TOR) and the DAF-2/insulin-signaling pathways. The pep-2 mutant enhances the developmental and longevity phenotypes of daf-2, resulting, among other effects, in a pronounced increase in adult life span. Moreover, all aspects of a weak let-363/TOR RNA interference phenotype are intensified by pep-2 deletion, indicating that pep-2 function upstream of TOR-mediated nutrient sensing. Our findings provide evidence for a predominant role of the intestinal peptide transporter for the delivery of bulk quantities of amino acids for growth and development, which consequently affects signaling pathways that regulate metabolism and aging.

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