Research Perspective Volume 3, Issue 9 pp 896—905
Epidermal growth factor and aging: A signaling molecule reveals a new eye opening function
- 1 The Waksman Institute, Department of Genetics, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
Received: September 14, 2011 Accepted: September 14, 2011 Published: September 15, 2011https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.100384
How to Cite
Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) is known for its role in promoting cell division and cellular differentiation in developing animals, but we know surprising little about what EGF does in vivo in mature adult animals. Here I review EGF signaling, emphasizing several recent studies that uncovered an unexpected role for EGF in promoting longevity and healthspan in mature adult C. elegans. EGF, acting through phospholipase Cγ and the IP3 receptor signaling, maintains pharyngeal and body wall muscle function in aging adults, and delays the accumulation of lipofuscin-enriched aging pigments within intestinal cells. EGF also acts through the Ras/ERK pathway to regulate protein homeostasis by promoting the expression of antioxidant genes, stimulating the activity of the Ubiquitin Proteasome System (UPS), and repressing the expression of small heat shock protein chaperones. The effects of EGF signaling on lifespan are largely independent of Insulin/IGF-like Signaling (IIS), as the effects of EGF signaling mutants on lifespan and heathspan are not affected by mutations in the DAF-2 insulin receptor or the DAF-16 FOXO transcription factor. Nevertheless, these two signal pathways have multiple points of overlap, coordination, and cross regulation. I propose that the IIS and EGF signaling pathways respond to environment and to developmental timing, respectively, so as to coordinate the appropriate physiological strategy that cells use to maintain protein homeostasis.