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Intergenerational effects of dietary restriction on insulin/IGF signaling and reproductive development

By James M Jordan, Jonathan D. Hibshman, Rebecca E. W. Kaplan, Amy K. Webster, Abigail Leinroth, Ryan Guzman, Colin S. Maxwell, Elizabeth Anne Bowman, E. Jane Albert Hubbard, L. Ryan Baugh

Posted 08 Jun 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/342956

The roundworm C. elegans transiently arrests larval development to survive extended starvation (1), but such early-life starvation reduces reproductive success (2, 3). Maternal dietary restriction (DR) buffers progeny from starvation, increasing reproductive success (4). It is unknown why early-life starvation decreases reproductive success and how maternal diet modifies this process. We show here that extended starvation in first-stage (L1) larvae followed by unrestricted feeding results in a variety of abnormalities in the reproductive system, including glp-1/Notch-sensitive germ-cell tumors and uterine masses that express neuronal and epidermal markers. We found that maternal DR reduces the penetrance of starvation-induced abnormalities, including tumors. Furthermore, we show that maternal DR reduces insulin/IGF signaling (IIS) in progeny, and that daf-16/FoxO and skn-1/Nrf, transcriptional effectors of IIS, are required in progeny for maternal DR to suppress abnormalities. daf-16/FoxO activity in somatic tissues is sufficient to suppress starvation-induced abnormalities, suggesting cell-nonautonomous regulation of reproductive system development. This work reveals complex inter- and intra-generational effects of nutrient availability mediated by IIS with consequences on developmental integrity and reproductive success.

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