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Dev Dyn. 2008 Aug;237(8):2100-7. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21632.

Lifespan extension and increased pumping rate accompany pharyngeal muscle-specific expression of nfi-1 in C. elegans.

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Department of Biochemistry, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA.


Caenorhabditis elegans nfi-1 belongs to the Nuclear Factor I (NFI) family of transcription factors known to regulate metazoan gene expression and development. We showed previously that loss of nfi-1 in worms results in multiple behavioral defects; slower pharyngeal pumping rate, impaired egg laying, defective motility, and a shortened life span. Here, we generated cell-type specific transgenic worms to determine the cells in which nfi-1 must be expressed to rescue the pharyngeal pumping defect. Expression of nfi-1 from the pharyngeal muscle-specific myo-2 promoter, but not from the F25B3.3 or myo-3 promoters, rescued the pharyngeal pumping defect of nfi-1 worms. Surprisingly, myo-2-driven nfi-1 expression also rescued the shortened lifespan of nfi-1 worms, demonstrating a possible cell-autonomous role of nfi-1 in pharyngeal muscle for both phenotypes. We propose some relationships between the pharyngeal pumping and lifespan phenotypes and potential mechanisms of nfi-1 function.

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