A high-glucose diet (HGD) is associated with the development of metabolic diseases that decrease life expectancy, including obesity and type-2 diabetes (T2D); however, the mechanism through which a HGD does so is still unclear. Autophagy, an evolutionarily conserved mechanism, has been shown to promote both cell and organismal survival. The goal of this study was to determine whether exposure of Caenorhabditis elegans to a HGD affects autophagy and thus contributes to the observed lifespan reduction under a HGD. Unexpectedly, nematodes exposed to a HGD showed increased autophagic flux via an HLH-30/TFEB-dependent mechanism because animals with loss of HLH-30/TFEB, even those with high glucose exposure, had an extended lifespan, suggesting that HLH-30/TFEB might have detrimental effects on longevity through autophagy under this stress condition. Interestingly, pharmacological treatment with okadaic acid, an inhibitor of the PP2A and PP1 protein phosphatases, blocked HLH-30 nuclear translocation, but not TAX-6/calcineurin suppression by RNAi, during glucose exposure. Together, our data support the suggested dual role of HLH-30/TFEB and autophagy, which, depending on the cellular context, may promote either organismal survival or death.
Chronic exposure to elevated glucose levels leads to fatty acid accumulation, which promotes the development of metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. MXL-3 is a conserved transcriptional factor that modulates the inhibition of lipolysis in Caenorhabditis elegans. However, the role of MXL-3 in lipid metabolism during nutrient excess remains unknown. We hypothesized that inhibition of MXL-3 prevents glucose-dependent fat accumulation. Nematodes from wild-type N2, MXL-3::GFP and sbp-1 or mxl-3 null strains were grown on standard, high glucose or high glucose plus metformin plates for 24 h. Using laser-scanning confocal microscopy, we monitored the glucose-induced activation of MXL-3 labeled with GFP (MXL-3::GFP). Lipid levels were determined by Oil Red O (ORO) staining and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and gene expression was assessed by qRT-PCR. We found that high glucose activated MXL-3 by increasing its rate of nuclear entry, which in turn increased lipid levels via sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SBP-1). This activated critical genes that synthesize long chain unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs and PUFAs) and repress lipolytic genes. Interestingly, the anti-diabetic drug metformin inhibited MXL-3 activation and subsequently prevented glucose-dependent fat accumulation. These findings highlight the importance of the MXL-3/SBP-1 axis in the regulation of lipid metabolism during nutritional excess and provide new insight into the mechanism by which metformin prevents lipid accumulation. This study also suggests that inhibition of MXL-3 may serve as a potential target for the treatment of chronic metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Health and lifespan are influenced by dietary nutrients, whose balance is dependent on the supply or demand of each organism. Many studies have shown that an increased carbohydrate–lipid intake plays a critical role in metabolic dysregulation, which impacts longevity. Caenorhabditis elegans has been successfully used as an in vivo model to study the effects of several factors, such as genetic, environmental, diet, and lifestyle factors, on the molecular mechanisms that have been linked to healthspan, lifespan, and the aging process. There is evidence showing the causative effects of high glucose on lifespan in different diabetic models; however, the precise biological mechanisms affected by dietary nutrients, specifically carbohydrates and lipids, as well as their links with lifespan and longevity, remain unknown. Here, we provide an overview of the deleterious effects caused by high-carbohydrate and high-lipid diets, as well as the molecular signals that affect the lifespan of C. elegans; thus, understanding the detailed molecular mechanisms of high-glucose- and lipid-induced changes in whole organisms would allow the targeting of key regulatory factors to ameliorate metabolic disorders and age-related diseases.
Transcription factor EB (TFEB) is considered the master transcriptional regulator of autophagy and lysosomal biogenesis, which regulates target gene expression through binding to CLEAR motifs. TFEB dysregulation has been linked to the development of numerous pathological conditions; however, several other lines of evidence show that TFEB might be a point of convergence of diverse signaling pathways and might therefore modulate other important biological processes such as cellular senescence, DNA repair, ER stress, carbohydrates, and lipid metabolism and WNT signaling-related processes. The regulation of TFEB occurs predominantly at the post-translational level, including phosphorylation, acetylation, SUMOylating, PARsylation, and glycosylation. It is noteworthy that TFEB activation is context-dependent; therefore, its regulation is subjected to coordinated mechanisms that respond not only to nutrient fluctuations but also to stress cell programs to ensure proper cell homeostasis and organismal health. In this review, we provide updated insights into novel post-translational modifications that regulate TFEB activity and give an overview of TFEB beyond its widely known role in autophagy and the lysosomal pathway, thus opening the possibility of considering TFEB as a potential therapeutic target.
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