Stressful development: integrating endoderm development, stress, and longevity.

TitleStressful development: integrating endoderm development, stress, and longevity.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsEwe CKiang, Alok G, Rothman JH
JournalDev Biol
Date Published2020 Dec 08

In addition to performing digestion and nutrient absorption, the intestine serves as one of the first barriers to the external environment, crucial for protecting the host from environmental toxins, pathogenic invaders, and other stress inducers. The gene regulatory network (GRN) governing embryonic development of the endoderm and subsequent differentiation and maintenance of the intestine has been well-documented in C. elegans. A key regulatory input that initiates activation of the embryonic GRN for endoderm and mesoderm in this animal is the maternally provided SKN-1 transcription factor, an ortholog of the vertebrate Nrf1 and 2, which, like C. elegans SKN-1, perform conserved regulatory roles in mediating a variety of stress responses across metazoan phylogeny. Other key regulatory factors in early gut development also participate in stress response as well as in innate immunity and aging and longevity. In this review, we discuss the intersection between genetic nodes that mediate endoderm/intestine differentiation and regulation of stress and homeostasis. We also consider how direct signaling from the intestine to the germline, in some cases involving SKN-1, facilitates heritable epigenetic changes, allowing transmission of adaptive stress responses across multiple generations. These connections between regulation of endoderm/intestine development and stress response mechanisms suggest that varying selective pressure exerted on the stress response pathways may influence the architecture of the endoderm GRN, thereby leading to genetic and epigenetic variation in early embryonic GRN regulatory events.

Alternate JournalDev Biol
PubMed ID33307045