The nervous system systemically coordinates proteostasis to delay organismal aging. However, the neuronal regulatory mechanisms that coordinate cellular anti-aging programs across tissue and cell-types are relatively unknown. In this work, we identify the h omeodomain-interacting p rotein ki nase (HPK-1), a transcriptional cofactor, as a novel neuronal component of the proteostatic network: its overexpression produces a paracrine signal to hyper-induce molecular chaperones and a neuroendocrine signal to induce autophagy in peripheral tissues. Neuronal HPK-1 signaling improves proteostasis in distal tissues through neurotransmitters. These pro-longevity modalities are independently regulated within serotonergic and GABAergic neurons, respectively, through distinct adaptive responses, either of which improve proteostasis in a cell non-autonomous manner. Serotonergic HPK-1 activity amplifies the heat shock response and protects the proteome from acute stress, without altering longevity. Conversely, increased GABAergic HPK-1 activity is sufficient to induce autophagy and extend longevity, without altering acute stress survival. Consistently, GABAergic neurons, but not serotonin, is essential for the cell non-autonomous induction of autophagy by neuronal HPK-1. These findings provide novel insight into how the nervous system partitions and coordinates unique adaptive response pathways to delay organismal aging, and reveals a key role for neuronal HPK-1 in regulating the proteostatic network throughout an intact metazoan animal.
Aging and the age-associated decline of the proteome is determined in part through neuronal control of evolutionarily conserved transcriptional effectors, which safeguard homeostasis under fluctuating metabolic and stress conditions by regulating an expansive proteostatic network in peripheral tissues. How neuronal signaling mechanisms are primed, relayed through an organism, and specific responses are initiated in receiving cell types remain poorly understood. We have discovered that the Caenorhabditis elegans homeodomain-interacting protein kinase (HPK-1) is a novel transcriptional effector that functions within two distinct neuronal cell-types to non-autonomously regulate divergent components of the proteostatic network to enhance stress resistance, improve proteostasis and delay aging.