Aging and hyperglycemia results in an accumulation of a series of reactive ?-dicarbonyl compounds (?-DCs, e.g. glyoxal/GO, methylglyoxal/MGO, 3-deoxyglucosone/3DG) and ?-DC-derived metabolites, called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs form due to the reaction of ?-DCs with proteins, lipids, and DNA causing cellular stress linked with specific age-related processes, diabetic complications and neurodegeneration. Therefore, preventing ?-DC and AGE buildup is of quintessential importance for slowing aging and limiting the progression of various age-related diseases. A major bottleneck in understanding the biochemistry behind the progression of these complications, and hence rapid drug development, is the lack of genetically tractable models that can recapitulate the effects of ?-DC and AGE accumulation in a short time frame. To that end, we have established a Caenorhabditis elegans model based on an impaired glyoxalase gene to study ?-DC and AGE-related pathologies. These animals exhibit several phenotypes reminiscent of diabetic complications, such as accumulation of MGO and AGEs, and hyperesthesia (or hyper sensitivity to touch), within two weeks of adulthood. Most interestingly they demonstrate increased age-related neuronal damage and shortened lifespan. Using this model we have identified a critical role for TRPA-1, a transient receptor potential (TRP) channel in sensing MGO and activating Nrf2 (Nuclear factor erythroid-2 like 2, or NFE2L2) to counteract the effects of AGEs. A preliminary drug screen using this model has resulted in 2 promising compounds that can ameliorate AGE-related pathologies in C. elegans through TRPA-1/SKN-1 activation. We propose to use C. elegans as an invertebrate model to study the effects of AGE accumulation within two weeks which can take years to develop in humans, to allow rapid discovery of genetic and pharmacological targets relevant to aging and age-related diseases where AGEs play an important role. In this proposal we will: 1) Characterize the role of TRPA-1/ SKN-1 both genetically and pharmacologically in detoxifying MGO; 2) Characterize the glyoxalases downstream of SKN-1 that mediate detoxification of ?-DCs like MGO and 3) examine the conservation of the TRPA-1/SKN-1 pathway in detoxifying MGO in mammals using human neuronal cells. Together these aims will help to decipher the ?-DC detoxification network and identify therapeutic targets and novel compounds that can mitigate diabetic complications and extend healthspan of diabetics.

Public Health Relevance

Advanced Glycation End-products (AGE) are known to accumulate with age and linked with various age-related diseases including diabetic complications and neurodegenerative diseases. We have developed a model to study the effects of AGE buildup using C. elegans showing neuronal damage and shortened lifespan. Using this model we propose to understand the mechanisms by which AGEs cause cellular damage and identify novel pharmacological leads to ameliorate AGE-related pathologies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-CB-T (02)M)
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Velazquez, Jose M
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Buck Institute for Age Research
United States
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Chaudhuri, Jyotiska; Bains, Yasmin; Guha, Sanjib et al. (2018) The Role of Advanced Glycation End Products in Aging and Metabolic Diseases: Bridging Association and Causality. Cell Metab 28:337-352
Chaudhuri, Jyotiska; Bose, Neelanjan; Gong, Jianke et al. (2016) A Caenorhabditis elegans Model Elucidates a Conserved Role for TRPA1-Nrf Signaling in Reactive ?-Dicarbonyl Detoxification. Curr Biol 26:3014-3025