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Title: Context-specific regulation of lysosomal lipolysis through network-level diverting of transcription factor interactions
Plasticity in multicellular organisms involves signaling pathways converting contexts—either natural environmental challenges or laboratory perturbations—into context-specific changes in gene expression. Congruently, the interactions between the signaling molecules and transcription factors (TF) regulating these responses are also context specific. However, when a target gene responds across contexts, the upstream TF identified in one context is often inferred to regulate it across contexts. Reconciling these stable TF–target gene pair inferences with the context-specific nature of homeostatic responses is therefore needed. The induction of the Caenorhabditis elegans genes lipl-3 and lipl-4 is observed in many genetic contexts and is essential to survival during fasting. We find DAF-16/FOXO mediating lipl-4 induction in all contexts tested; hence, lipl-4 regulation seems context independent and compatible with across-context inferences. In contrast, DAF-16–mediated regulation of lipl-3 is context specific. DAF-16 reduces the induction of lipl-3 during fasting, yet it promotes it during oxidative stress. Through discrete dynamic modeling and genetic epistasis, we define that DAF-16 represses HLH-30/TFEB—the main TF activating lipl-3 during fasting. Contrastingly, DAF-16 activates the stress-responsive TF HSF-1 during oxidative stress, which promotes C. elegans survival through induction of lipl-3 . Furthermore, the TF MXL-3 contributes to the dominance of HSF-1 at the expense of HLH-30 during oxidative stress but not during fasting. This study shows how context-specific diverting of functional interactions within a molecular network allows cells to specifically respond to a large number of contexts with a limited number of molecular players, a mode of transcriptional regulation we name “contextualized transcription.”  more » « less
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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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National Science Foundation
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