The multiple faces of calcineurin signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans: development, behaviour and aging

J Biosci. 2013 Jun;38(2):417-31. doi: 10.1007/s12038-013-9319-6.

Abstract

Calcineurin, a well-conserved protein phosphatase 2B (PP2B), is a Ca2+-calmodulin-dependent serine/threonine protein phosphatase that is known to be involved in a myriad of cellular processes and signal transduction pathways. The biological role of calcineurin has been extensively studied in diverse groups of organisms. Homologues of mammalian and Drosophila calcineurin subunits exist in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. The C. elegans counterpart of the catalytic subunit, calcineurin A, cna-1/tax-6, and the regulatory subunit, calcineurin B, cnb-1, are known to express ubiquitously in multiple tissues including neurons. The characterization of C. elegans calcineurin mutants facilitates identification of its physiological functions and signaling pathways. Genetic interactions between cna-1/tax-6 and cnb-1 mutants with a number of mutants involved in several signaling pathways have exemplified the pivotal role of calcineurin in regulating nematode development, behaviour and lifespan (aging). The present review has been aimed to provide a succinct summary of the multiple functions of calcineurin in C. elegans relating to its development, fertility, proliferation, behaviour and lifespan. Analyses of cna-1/tax-6 and cnb-1 interacting proteins and regulators of the phosphatase in this fascinating worm model have an immense scope to identify potential drug targets in various parasitic nematodes, which cause many diseases inflicting huge economic loss; and also for many human diseases, particularly neurodegenerative and myocardial diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Calcineurin / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Growth and Development
  • Humans
  • Reproduction

Substances

  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Calcineurin