The FOXO family of transcription factors plays a conserved role in longevity and tissue homeostasis across species. In the mammalian nervous system, emerging evidence has implicated FOXOs in cognitive performance, stem cell maintenance, regeneration, and protection against stress. Much of what we know about neuronal functions of FOXO emerged from recent studies in C. elegans. Similar to mammalian FOXO, the worm FOXO ortholog, called DAF-16, regulates learning and memory, regeneration, and stress resistance in neurons. Here, we discuss the current state of our knowledge of FOXO's functions in neurons in mammals and invertebrates, and highlight areas where our understanding is limited. Defining the function of FOXO factors in the healthy, aged, and diseased brain may have important implications for improving healthspan and treating neurodegenerative disease.
Keywords: DAF-16; FOXO; aging; brain; insulin/IGF signaling.