The general control nonderepressible 2 (GCN2) kinase is a nutrient-sensing pathway that responds to amino acids deficiency and induces a genetic program to effectively maintain cellular homeostasis. Here we established the conserved role of Caenorhabditis elegans GCN-2 under amino acid limitation as a translation initiation factor 2 (eIF2) kinase. Using a combination of genetic and molecular approaches, we showed that GCN-2 kinase activity plays a central role in survival under nutrient stress and mediates lifespan extension conferred by dietary restriction (DR) or inhibition of the major nutrient-sensing pathway, the target of rapamycin (TOR). We also demonstrated that the GCN-2 and TOR signaling pathways converge on the PHA-4/FoxA transcription factor and its downstream target genes to ensure survival of the whole organism under a multitude of stress conditions, such as nutrient scarcity or environmental stresses. This is one step forward in the understanding of evolutionary conserved mechanisms that confer longevity and healthspan.
Keywords: Caenorhabditis elegans; PHA-4; aging; general control nonderepressible 2; target of rapamycin.
© 2013 The Authors. Aging Cell published by the Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.