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Mech Ageing Dev. 2006 Jan;127(1):48-56. Epub 2005 Nov 8.

Overlapping and distinct functions for a Caenorhabditis elegans SIR2 and DAF-16/FOXO.

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Program in Gene Function and Expression, Program in Molecular Medicine, Aaron Lazare Research Building, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 364 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


The conserved SIR2 protein regulates life span in both yeast and worms: in both organisms overexpression of SIR2 can extend life span and in Caenorhabditis elegans this life span extension is dependent on the forkhead transcription factor, DAF-16. Here, we have done extensive genetic analysis with sir-2.1(ok434), a null mutant of C. elegans sir-2.1, the closest homolog to yeast Sir2p and human SIRT1 to further elucidate its function in life span regulation. sir-2.1(ok434) mutants show a slight decrease in life span as well as sensitivity to various stresses. Our genetic analysis suggests that sir-2.1 is required for life span extension by caloric restriction, independent of the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway. Importantly, analysis with unc-13 mutants indicates that sir-2.1 and daf-16 have overlapping and distinct roles in life span regulation. Our expression analysis shows that sir-2.1 has overlapping and distinct expression pattern compared with daf-16, consistent with the results from our genetic data. Our data defines a central role for C. elegans SIR2 in regulation of life span by caloric restriction and demonstrates that sir-2.1 and daf-16 have both overlapping and distinct functions in regulation of C. elegans life span.

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