HSF-1–mediated cytoskeletal integrity determines thermotolerance and life span

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Science  17 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6207, pp. 360-363
DOI: 10.1126/science.1253168

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The conserved heat shock transcription factor–1 (HSF-1) is essential to cellular stress resistance and life-span determination. The canonical function of HSF-1 is to regulate a network of genes encoding molecular chaperones that protect proteins from damage caused by extrinsic environmental stress or intrinsic age-related deterioration. In Caenorhabditis elegans, we engineered a modified HSF-1 strain that increased stress resistance and longevity without enhanced chaperone induction. This health assurance acted through the regulation of the calcium-binding protein PAT-10. Loss of pat-10 caused a collapse of the actin cytoskeleton, stress resistance, and life span. Furthermore, overexpression of pat-10 increased actin filament stability, thermotolerance, and longevity, indicating that in addition to chaperone regulation, HSF-1 has a prominent role in cytoskeletal integrity, ensuring cellular function during stress and aging.

Cytoskeleton protects from stress and aging

The transcription factor HSF-1 has an unexpected second function that allows it to extend longevity in worms. Baird et al. expressed a modified form of HSF-1 in nematodes. The modified protein could not activate genes encoding protein chaperones. Such chaperones are thought to protect many cellular proteins from heat shock and other damage during aging However, the modified protein still extended the worm life span by regulating the transcription of other genes. One gene it regulated was pat-10, which encodes a troponin-like calcium binding protein. Overexpression of PAT-10 also extended worm life span, apparently by changing the stability of the actin cytoskeleton.

Science, this issue p. 360

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