Dietary restriction (DR), which is defined as a reduction of particular or total nutrient intake without causing malnutrition, has been proved to be a robust way to extend both lifespan and health-span in various species from yeast to mammal. However, the molecular mechanisms by which DR confers benefits on longevity were not yet fully elucidated. The forkhead box O transcription factors (FOXOs), identified as downstream regulators of the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway, control the expression of many genes regulating crucial biological processes such as metabolic homeostasis, redox balance, stress response and cell viability and proliferation. The activity of FOXOs is also mediated by AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), sirtuins and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Therefore, the FOXO-related pathways form a complex network critical for coordinating a response to environmental fluctuations in order to maintain cellular homeostasis and to support physiological aging. In this review, we will focus on the role of FOXOs in different DR interventions. As different DR regimens or calorie (energy) restriction mimetics (CRMs) can elicit both distinct and overlapped DR-related signaling pathways, the benefits of DR may be maximized by combining diverse forms of interventions. In addition, a better understanding of the precise role of FOXOs in different mechanistic aspects of DR response would provide clear cellular and molecular insights on DR-induced increase of lifespan and health-span.
Keywords: AMPK; FOXO; calorie restriction mimetics; dietary restriction; insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway; longevity; mTOR; sirtuins.