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Monnier, V., Iché-Torres, M., Rera, M., Contremoulins, V., Guichard, C., Lalevée, N., Tricoire, H., Perrin, L. (2012). dJun and Vri/dNFIL3 Are Major Regulators of Cardiac Aging in Drosophila.  PLoS Genet. 8(11): e1003081.
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Research paper

Cardiac aging is a complex process, which is influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. Deciphering the mechanisms involved in heart senescence therefore requires identifying the molecular pathways that are affected by age in controlled environmental and genetic conditions. We describe a functional genomic investigation of the genetic control of cardiac senescence in Drosophila. Molecular signatures of heart aging were identified by differential transcriptome analysis followed by a detailed bio-informatic analysis. This approach implicated the JNK/dJun pathway and the transcription factor Vri/dNFIL3 in the transcription regulatory network involved in cardiac senescence and suggested the possible involvement of oxidative stress (OS) in the aging process. To validate these predictions, we developed a new in vivo assay to analyze heart performance in various contexts of adult heart-specific gene overexpression and inactivation. We demonstrate that, as in mammals, OS plays a central role in cardiac senescence, and we show that pharmacological interventions impinging on OS slow heart senescence. These observations strengthen the idea that cardiac aging is controlled by evolutionarily conserved mechanisms, further validating Drosophila as a model to study cardiac senescence. In addition, we demonstrate that Vri, the ortholog of the vertebrate NFIL3/E4B4 transcription factor, is a major genetic regulator of cardiac aging. Vri overexpression leads to major heart dysfunctions, but its loss of function significantly reduces age-related cardiac dysfunctions. Furthermore, we unambiguously show that the JNK/AP1 pathway, the role of which in cardiac aging in mammals is controversial, is activated during cardiac aging and has a detrimental effect on cardiac senescence. This data-driven functional genomic analysis therefore led to the identification of key components of the Gene Regulatory Network of cardiac aging in Drosophila and may prompt to investigate the involvement of their counterparts in the cardiac aging process in mammals.

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PMC3510041 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Publication Type
    PLoS Genet.
    PLoS Genetics
    Publication Year
    1553-7404 1553-7390
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