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Aging

Hexokinase is a key regulator of energy metabolism and ROS activity in insect lifespan extension.


PMID 26852422

Abstract

Developmental arrest (diapause) is a 'non-aging' state that is similar to the Caenorhabditis elegans dauer stage and Drosophila lifespan extension. Diapause results in low metabolic activity and a profound extension of insect lifespan. Here, we cloned the Helicoverpa armigera Hexokinase (HK) gene, a gene that is critical for the developmental arrest of this species. HK expression and activity levels were significantly increased in nondiapause-destined pupae compared with those of diapause-destined pupae. Downregulation of HK activity reduced cell viability and delayed pupal development by reducing metabolic activity and increasing ROS activity, which suggests that HK is a key regulator of insect development. We then identified the transcription factors Har-CREB, -c-Myc, and -POU as specifically binding the Har-HK promoter and regulating its activity. Intriguingly, Har-POU and -c-Myc are specific transcription factors for HK expression, whereas Har-CREB is nonspecific. Furthermore, Har-POU and -c-Myc could respond to ecdysone, which is an upstream hormone. Therefore, low ecdysone levels in diapause-destined individuals lead to low Har-POU and -c-Myc expression levels, ultimately repressing Har-HK expression and inducing entry into diapause or lifespan extension.