The Caenorhabditis elegans Oxidative Stress Response Requires the NHR-49 Transcription Factor
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The overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells can lead to the development of diseases associated with aging. We have previously shown that C. elegans BRAP-2 (Brca1 associated binding protein 2) regulates phase II detoxification genes such as gst-4, by increasing SKN-1 activity. Previously, a transcription factor (TF) RNAi screen was conducted to identify potential activators that are required to induce gst-4 expression in brap-2(ok1492) mutants. The lipid metabolism regulator NHR-49/HNF4 was among 18 TFs identified. Here, we show that knockdown of nhr-49 suppresses the activation of gst-4 caused by brap-2 inactivation and that gain-of-function alleles of nhr-49 promote gst-4 expression. We also demonstrate that nhr-49 and its cofactor mdt-15 are required to express phase II detoxification enzymes upon exposure to chemicals that induce oxidative stress. Furthermore, we show that NHR-49 and MDT-15 enhance expression of skn-1a/c These findings identify a novel role for NHR-49 in ROS detoxification by regulating expression of SKN-1C and phase II detoxification genes.
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