The insulin/IGF signalling pathway impacts lifespan across distant taxa, by controlling the activity of nodal transcription factors. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the transcription regulators DAF-16/FOXO and SKN-1/Nrf function to promote longevity under conditions of low insulin/IGF signalling and stress. The activity and subcellular localization of both DAF-16 and SKN-1 is further modulated by specific posttranslational modifications, such as phosphorylation and ubiquitination. Here, we show that ageing elicits a marked increase of SUMO levels in C. elegans. In turn, SUMO fine-tunes DAF-16 and SKN-1 activity in specific C. elegans somatic tissues, to enhance stress resistance. SUMOylation of DAF-16 modulates mitochondrial homeostasis by interfering with mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy. Our findings reveal that SUMO is an important determinant of lifespan, and provide novel insight, relevant to the complexity of the signalling mechanisms that influence gene expression to govern organismal survival in metazoans.
- Cell biology
- Post-translational modifications