HIF-1 and SKN-1 Coordinate the Transcriptional Response to Hydrogen Sulfide in Caenorhabditis elegans
by Dana L. Miller, Mark W. Budde, Mark B. Roth
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has dramatic physiological effects on animals that are associated with improved survival. C. elegans grown in H2S are long-lived and thermotolerant. To identify mechanisms by which adaptation to H2S effects physiological functions, we have measured transcriptional responses to H2S exposure. Using microarray analysis we observe rapid changes in the abundance of specific mRNAs. The number and magnitude of transcriptional changes increased with the duration of H2S exposure. Functional annotation suggests that genes associated with protein homeostasis are upregulated upon prolonged exposure to H2S. Previous work has shown that the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor, HIF-1, is required for survival in H2S. In fact, we show that hif-1 is required for most, if not all, early transcriptional changes in H2S. Moreover, our data demonstrate that SKN-1, the C. elegans homologue of NRF2, also contributes to H2S-dependent changes in transcription. We show that these results are functionally important, as skn-1 is essential to survive exposure to H2S. Our results suggest a model in which HIF-1 and SKN-1 coordinate a broad transcriptional response to H2S that culminates in a global reorganization of protein homeostasis networks.
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