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Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signalling pathways are highly conserved across metazoa and play essential roles not only during development but also in adult tissue maintenance. Alterations of these pathways usually result in a plethora of pathologies. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the TGF-β Sma/Mab (small/male abnormal) pathway regulates various worm phenotypes such as body size, immune response, ageing, matricide and reproductive span. SMA-10 has been described as a positive modulator of worm body size through the TGF-β Sma/Mab pathway. To better understand if SMA-10 is a core component of the pathway, we use gene epistatic analysis to assess the contribution of SMA-10 to various phenotypes regulated by TGF-β Sma/Mab. We confirm that SMA-10 controls body size and find that it also affects the matricide and reproductive span of the nematodes. However, neither male tail formation (previously reported) nor ageing appeared altered. Lastly, although null sma-10 worms are more susceptible to Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections than wild-types, this response does not depend on TGF-β Sma/Mab but on the insulin receptor DAF-2. We also show that the expression of sma-10 in either hypodermis or intestine fully rescues the wild-type immune response. Our results contribute to understanding the role of SMA-10 as a context-dependent component of TGF-β Sma/Mab, and reveal a function of SMA-10 in immunity in association to the Insulin/insulin-like growth factor signalling (IIS) pathway.


María Pilar de Lucas, Marta Jiménez, Paloma Sánchez-Pavón, Alberto G Sáez, Encarnación Lozano. SMA-10 Is a Non-Canonical Member of the TGF-β Sma/Mab Pathway and Immunity Regulator via the DAF-2 Insulin Receptor in Caenorhabditis elegans. International journal of molecular sciences. 2021 Jan 11;22(2)

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PMID: 33440633

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