Royalactin is a glycoprotein essential for the development of long-lived queen honeybees. Only larvae fed with royal jelly, containing royalactin, develop into queens. Royalactin plays a central role in this process by switching on the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor signaling pathway which ultimately leads to epigenetic changes and a long-lived queen phenotype. Recently it was shown that royalactin by itself also extends lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster. Yet, the mechanism by which royalactin promotes longevity remains largely unknown. We set out to characterize the effects of royalactin on Caenorhabditis elegans lifespan, and clarify the possible involvement of EGF signaling in this process. We demonstrate that royalactin extends lifespan of this nematode and that both EGF (LIN-3) and its receptor (LET-23) are essential to this process. To our knowledge, this is the first report of royalactin-mediated lifespan extension in a non-insect species. Additionally, we show that royalactin enhances locomotion in adult nematodes, implying that royalactin also influences healthspan. Our results suggest that royalactin is an important lifespan-extending factor in royal jelly and acts by promoting EGF signaling in C. elegans. Further work will now be needed to clarify which (secondary) signaling pathways are activated by royalactin, and how this ultimately translates into an extended health- and lifespan.
In C. elegans research, transcriptional activation of glutathione S-transferase 4 (gst-4) is often used as a read-out for SKN-1 activity. While many heed an assumed non-exclusivity of the GFP reporter signal driven by the gst-4 promoter to SKN-1, this is also often ignored. We here show that gst-4 can also be transcriptionally activated by EOR-1, a transcription factor mediating effects of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) pathway. Along with enhancing exogenous oxidative stress tolerance, EOR-1 independently of SKN-1 increases gst-4 transcription in response to augmented EGF signaling.Our findings caution researchers within the C. elegans community to always rely on sufficient experimental controls when assaying SKN-1 transcriptional activity with a gst-4 p ::gfp reporter, such as SKN-1 loss-of-function mutants and/or additional target genes next to gst-4.
Neuropeptides are key messengers in almost all physiological processes. They originate from larger precursors and are extensively processed to become bioactive. Neuropeptidomics aims to comprehensively identify the collection of neuropeptides in an organism, organ, tissue or cell. The neuropeptidome of several invertebrates is thoroughly explored since they are important model organisms (and models for human diseases), disease vectors and pest species. The charting of the neuropeptidome is the first step towards understanding peptidergic signaling. This review will first discuss the latest developments in exploring the neuropeptidome. The physiological roles and modes of action of neuropeptides can be explored in two ways, which are largely orthogonal and therefore complementary. The first way consists of inferring the functions of neuropeptides by a forward approach where neuropeptide profiles are compared under different physiological conditions. Second is the reverse approach were neuropeptide collections are used to screen for receptor-binding. This is followed by localization studies and functional tests. This review will focus on how these different functional screening methods contributed to the field of invertebrate neuropeptidomics and expanded our knowledge of peptidergic signaling. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Neuroproteomics: Applications in Neuroscience and Neurology.
As demonstrated in various animal models, organismal longevity can be achieved via interventions that at the mechanistic level could be considered to entail 'defensive' responses: most long-lived mutants focus on somatic maintenance, while reducing growth pathway signalling and protein translation and turnover. We here provide evidence that the opposite mechanism can also lead to longevity and improved health.We report on the mode of action of royalactin, a glycoprotein activator of epidermal growth factor signalling, capable of extending lifespan in several animals. We show that in Caenorhabditis elegans, royalactin-induced longevity depends on increased protein translation and entails increased proteasome activity. We propose the term 'copious longevity' to describe this newly-elucidated mechanism. In contrast to what is true for many other lifespan-extending interventions, we observed no obvious trade-offs between royalactininduced longevity and several life history traits. Our data point towards increased protein turnover to support healthy ageing, and provide a means for future comparative studies of defensive vs. copious mechanisms.
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