Mechanical stimuli initiate adaptive signal transduction pathways, yet exceeding the cellular capacity to withstand physical stress results in death. The molecular mechanisms underlying trauma-induced degeneration remain unclear. In the nematode C. elegans, we have developed a method to study cellular degeneration in response to mechanical stress caused by blunt force trauma. Herein, we report that physical injury activates the c-Jun kinase, KGB-1, which modulates response elements through the AP-1 transcriptional complex. Among these, we have identified a dual-specificity MAPK phosphatase, VHP-1, as a stress-inducible modulator of neurodegeneration. VHP-1 regulates the transcriptional response to mechanical stress and is itself attenuated by KGB-1-mediated inactivation of a deubiquitinase, MATH-33, and proteasomal degradation. Together, we describe an uncharacterized stress response pathway in C. elegans and identify transcriptional and post-translational components comprising a feedback loop on Jun kinase and phosphatase activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)