daf-16 protects the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans during food deprivation

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2006 May;61(5):444-60. doi: 10.1093/gerona/61.5.444.


Inhibition of either the insulin-like or target of rapamycin (TOR) pathways in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans extends life span. Here, we demonstrate that starvation and inhibition of the C. elegans insulin receptor homolog (daf-2) elicits a daf-16-dependent up-regulation of a mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (sod-3). We also find that although heat and oxidative stress result in nuclear localization of the DAF-16 protein, these stressors do not activate a SOD-3 reporter, suggesting that nuclear localization alone may not be sufficient for transcriptional activation of DAF-16. We show that inhibition of either TOR activity or key components of the cognate translational machinery (eIF-4G and EIF-2B homologs) increases life span by both daf-16-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Finally, we demonstrate that at least one nematode hexokinase is localized to the mitochondria. We propose that the increased life spans conferred by alterations in both the TOR and insulin-like pathways function by inappropriately activating food-deprivation pathways.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Western
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Down-Regulation
  • Food Deprivation*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Transcription Factors
  • daf-16 protein, C elegans