Editors' ChoiceCell Biology

Cytoskeleton Protects from Stress and Aging

Sci. Signal.  21 Oct 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 348, pp. ec297
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa1003

The transcription factor HSF-1 has an unexpected second function that allows it to extend longevity in worms. Baird et al. expressed a modified form of HSF-1 in nematodes. The modified protein could not activate genes encoding protein chaperones. Such chaperones are thought to protect many cellular proteins from heat shock and other damage during aging. However, the modified protein still extended the worm life span by regulating the transcription of other genes. One gene it regulated was pat-10, which encodes a troponin-like calcium binding protein. Overexpression of PAT-10 also extended worm life span, apparently by changing the stability of the actin cytoskeleton.

N. A. Baird, P. M. Douglas, M. S. Simic, A. R. Grant, J. J. Moresco, S. C. Wolff, J. R. Yates III, G. Manning, A. Dillin, HSF-1–mediated cytoskeletal integrity determines thermotolerance and life span. Science 346, 360–363 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]