Succinate Dehydrogenase-Regulated Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase Sustains Copulation Fitness in Aging C. elegans Males
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Dysregulated metabolism accelerates reduced decision-making and locomotor ability during aging. To identify mechanisms for delaying behavioral decline, we investigated how C. elegans males sustain their copulatory behavior during early to mid-adulthood. We found that in mid-aged males, gluco-/glyceroneogenesis, promoted by phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), sustains competitive reproductive behavior. C. elegans' PEPCK paralogs, pck-1 and pck-2, increase in expression during the first 2 days of adulthood. Insufficient PEPCK expression correlates with reduced egl-2-encoded ether-a-go-go K+ channel expression and premature hyper-excitability of copulatory circuits. For copulation, pck-1 is required in neurons, whereas pck-2 is required in the epidermis. However, PCK-2 is more essential, because we found that epidermal PCK-2 likely supplements the copulation circuitry with fuel. We identified the subunit A of succinate dehydrogenase SDHA-1 as a potent modulator of PEPCK expression. We postulate that during mid-adulthood, reduction in mitochondrial physiology signals the upregulation of cytosolic PEPCK to sustain the male's energy demands.
author list (cited authors)
Goncalves, J., Wan, Y., Guo, X., Rha, K., LeBoeuf, B., Zhang, L., Estler, K., & Garcia, L. R.