Riesen M, Feyst I, Rattanavirotkul N, Ezcurra M, Tullet JM, Papatheodorou I, Ziehm M, Au C, Gilliat AF, Hellberg J, Thornton JM, Gems D.
In C. elegans, increased lifespan in daf-2 insulin/IGF-1 receptor mutants is accompanied by up-regulation of the MDL-1 Mad basic helix-loop-helix leucine zipper transcription factor. Here we describe the role of mdl-1 in C. elegans germline proliferation and aging. The deletion allele mdl-1(tm311) shortened lifespan, and did so significantly more so in long-lived daf-2 mutants implying that mdl-1(+) contributes to effects of daf-2 on lifespan. mdl-1 mutant hermaphrodites also lay increased numbers of unfertilized oocytes. During aging, unfertilized oocytes in the uterus develop into tumors, whose development was accelerated by mdl-1(tm311). Opposite phenotypes were seen in daf-2 mutants, i.e. mdl-1 and daf-2 mutant germlines are hyperplastic and hypoplastic, respectively. Thus, MDL-1, like its mammalian orthologs, is an inhibitor of cell proliferation and growth that slows progression of an age-related pathology in C. elegans (uterine tumors). In addition, intestine-limited rescue of mdl-1 increased lifespan but not to wild type levels. Thus, mdl-1 likely acts both in the intestine and the germline to influence age-related mortality.