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G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics


The heat shock response (HSR) is a cellular stress response that senses protein misfolding and restores protein folding homeostasis, or proteostasis. We previously identified an HSR regulatory network inCaenorhabditis elegans consisting of highly conserved genes that have important cellular roles in maintaining proteostasis. Unexpectedly, the effects of these genes on the HSR are distinctly tissue-specific. Here, we explore this apparent discrepancy and find that muscle-specific regulation of the HSR by the TRiC/CCT chaperonin is not driven by an enrichment of TRiC/CCT in muscle, but rather by the levels of one of its most abundant substrates, actin. Knockdown of actin subunits reduces induction of the HSR in muscle upon TRiC/CCT knockdown; conversely, overexpression of an actin subunit sensitizes the intestine so that it induces the HSR upon TRiC/CCT knockdown. Similarly, intestine-specific HSR regulation by the signal recognition particle (SRP), a component of the secretory pathway, is driven by the vitellogenins, some of the most abundant secretory proteins. Together, these data indicate that the specific protein folding requirements from the unique cellular proteomes sensitizes each tissue to disruption of distinct subsets of the proteostasis network. These findings are relevant for tissue-specific, HSR-associated human diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, we characterize organismal phenotypes of actin overexpression including a shortened lifespan, supporting a recent hypothesis that maintenance of the actin cytoskeleton is an important factor for longevity.

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