Integrin-linked kinase modulates longevity and thermotolerance in C. elegans through neuronal control of HSF-1

Caroline Kumsta, Tsui Ting Ching, Mayuko Nishimura, Andrew E. Davis, Sara Gelino, Hannah H. Catan, Xiaokun Yu, Chu Chiao Chu, Binnan Ong, Siler H. Panowski, Nathan Baird, Rolf Bodmer, Ao Lin Hsu, Malene Hansen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Integrin-signaling complexes play important roles in cytoskeletal organization and cell adhesion in many species. Components of the integrin-signaling complex have been linked to aging in both Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster, but the mechanism underlying this function is unknown. Here, we investigated the role of integrin-linked kinase (ILK), a key component of the integrin-signaling complex, in lifespan determination. We report that genetic reduction of ILK in both C. elegans and Drosophila increased resistance to heat stress, and led to lifespan extension in C. elegans without majorly affecting cytoskeletal integrity. In C. elegans, longevity and thermotolerance induced by ILK depletion was mediated by heat-shock factor-1 (HSF-1), a major transcriptional regulator of the heat-shock response (HSR). Reduction in ILK levels increased hsf-1 transcription and activation, and led to enhanced expression of a subset of genes with roles in the HSR. Moreover, induction of HSR-related genes, longevity and thermotolerance caused by ILK reduction required the thermosensory neurons AFD and interneurons AIY, which are known to play a critical role in the canonical HSR. Notably, ILK was expressed in neighboring neurons, but not in AFD or AIY, implying that ILK reduction initiates cell nonautonomous signaling through thermosensory neurons to elicit a noncanonical HSR. Our results thus identify HSF-1 as a novel effector of the organismal response to reduced ILK levels and show that ILK inhibition regulates HSF-1 in a cell nonautonomous fashion to enhance stress resistance and lifespan in C. elegans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-430
Number of pages12
JournalAging Cell
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Aging
  • C. elegans
  • Heat-shock response
  • HSF-1
  • Integrin signaling
  • PAT-4/ILK


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