Research Paper Volume 6, Issue 10 pp 835—851
PHA-4/FOXA-regulated microRNA feed forward loops during Caenorhabditis elegans dietary restriction
- 1 Molecular Aging Laboratory, National Institute of Immunology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110067, India
received: September 1, 2014 ; accepted: October 27, 2014 ; published: October 31, 2014 ;https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.100697
How to Cite
Dietary restriction (DR) increases life span and delays the onset of age-related diseases across species. However, the molecular mechanisms have remained relatively unexplored in terms of gene regulation. In C. elegans, a popular model for aging studies, the FOXA transcription factor PHA-4 is a robust genetic regulator of DR, although little is known about how it regulates gene expression. We profiled the transcriptome and miRNAome of an eat-2 mutant, a genetic surrogate of DR, by Next Generation sequencing and find that most of the miRNAs are upregulated in the young-adult worms, none significantly downregulated. Interestingly, PHA-4 can potentially regulate the expression of most of these miRNA genes. Remarkably, many of the PHA-4-regulated genes that are induced during DR are also targets of the PHA-4-upregulated miRNAs, forming a large feed-forward gene regulatory network. The genes targeted by the feed-forward loops (FFLs) are enriched for functions related to ubiquitin-mediated decay, lysosomal autophagy, cellular signalling, protein folding etc., processes that play critical roles in DR and longevity. Together our data provides a framework for understanding the complex and unique regulatory network employed during DR, suggesting that PHA-4 employs such FFLs to fine-tune gene expression and instil robustness in the system during energy crisis.