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Aging Cell. 2009 Aug;8(4):473-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2009.00495.x. Epub 2009 May 31.

Endogenous cGMP regulates adult longevity via the insulin signaling pathway in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Biochemistry, Yonsei Proteome Research Center, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.


G-proteins, including GPA-3, play an important role in regulating physiological responses in Caenorhabditis elegans. When confronted with an environmental stimulus such as dauer pheromone, or poor nutrients, C. elegans receives and integrates external signals through its nervous system (i.e. amphid neurons), which interprets and translates them into biological action. Here it is shown that a suppressed neuronal cGMP level caused by GPA-3 activation leads to a significant increase (47.3%) in the mean lifespan of adult C. elegans through forkhead transcription factor family O (FOXO)-mediated signal. A reduced neuronal cGMP level was found to be caused by an increased cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase activity at the transcriptional level. Our results using C. elegans mutants with specific deficits in TGF-beta and FOXO RNAi system suggest a mechanism in that cGMP, TGF-beta, and FOXO signaling interact to differentially produce the insulin-like molecules, ins-7 and daf-28, causing suppression of the insulin/IGF-1 pathway and promoting lifespan extension. Our findings provide not only a new mechanism of cGMP-mediated induction of longevity in adult C. elegans but also a possible therapeutic strategy for neuronal disease, which has been likened to brain diabetes.

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