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PLoS Pathog. 2013;9(10):e1003660. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003660. Epub 2013 Oct 17.

The DAF-16/FOXO transcription factor functions as a regulator of epidermal innate immunity.

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Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-Resources, Yunnan University, Kunming, Yunnan, China.


The Caenorhabditis elegans DAF-16 transcription factor is critical for diverse biological processes, particularly longevity and stress resistance. Disruption of the DAF-2 signaling cascade promotes DAF-16 activation, and confers resistance to killing by pathogenic bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Enterococcus faecalis. However, daf-16 mutants exhibit similar sensitivity to these bacteria as wild-type animals, suggesting that DAF-16 is not normally activated by these bacterial pathogens. In this report, we demonstrate that DAF-16 can be directly activated by fungal infection and wounding in wild-type animals, which is independent of the DAF-2 pathway. Fungal infection and wounding initiate the Gαq signaling cascade, leading to Ca(2+) release. Ca(2+) mediates the activation of BLI-3, a dual-oxidase, resulting in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS then activate DAF-16 through a Ste20-like kinase-1/CST-1. Our results indicate that DAF-16 in the epidermis is required for survival after fungal infection and wounding. Thus, the EGL-30-Ca(2+)-BLI-3-CST-1-DAF-16 signaling represents a previously unknown pathway to regulate epidermal damage response.

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