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Glutathione transferases kappa 1 and kappa 2 localize in peroxisomes and mitochondria, respectively, and are involved in lipid metabolism and respiration in Caenorhabditis elegans

Petit, Elise, Michelet, Xavier, Rauch, Claudine, Bertrand-Michel, Justine, Tercé, François, Legouis, Renaud, Morel, Fabrice
FEBS journal 2009 v.276 no.18 pp. 5030-5040
Caenorhabditis elegans, RNA interference, amino acid sequences, bacteria, genes, glutathione, humans, integument, intestines, lipid metabolism, locomotion, longevity, mitochondria, monounsaturated fatty acids, muscles, oxygen consumption, peroxisomes, pharynx, reproduction, respiratory rate, transferases
To elucidate the function of kappa class glutathione transferases (GSTs) in multicellular organisms, their expression and silencing were investigated in Caenorhabditis elegans. In contrast with most vertebrates, which possess only one GST kappa gene, two distinct genes encoding GSTK-1 and GSTK-2 are present in the C. elegans genome. The amino acid sequences of GSTK-1 and GSTK-2 share around 30% similarity with the human hGSTK1 sequence and, like the human transferase, GSTK-1 contains a C-terminal peroxisomal targeting sequence. gstk-1 and gstk-2 genes show distinct developmental and tissue expression patterns. We show that GSTK-2 is localized in the mitochondria and expressed mainly in the pharynx, muscles and epidermis, whereas GSTK-1 is restricted to peroxisomes and expressed in the intestine, body wall muscles and epidermis. In order to determine the potential role(s) of GST kappa genes in C. elegans, specific silencing of the gstk-1 and gstk-2 genes was performed by an RNA interference approach. Knockdown of gstk-1 or gstk-2 had no apparent effect on C. elegans reproduction, development, locomotion or lifespan. By contrast, when biological functions (oxygen consumption and lipid metabolism) related to peroxisomes and/or mitochondria were investigated, we observed a significant decrease in respiration rate and a lower concentration of the monounsaturated fatty acid cis-vaccenic acid (18:1ω7) when worms were fed on bacteria expressing RNA interference targeting both gstk-1 and gstk-2. These results demonstrate that GST kappa, although not essential for the worm's life, may be involved in energetic and lipid metabolism, two functions related to mitochondria and peroxisomes.