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Cell. 2019 Jun 13;177(7):1814-1826.e15. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.04.029. Epub 2019 Jun 6.

Neuronal Small RNAs Control Behavior Transgenerationally.

Author information

1
Department of Neurobiology, Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel.
2
Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 1B1, Canada.
3
Department of Neurobiology, Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel. Electronic address: odedrechavi@gmail.com.

Abstract

It is unknown whether the activity of the nervous system can be inherited. In Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes, parental responses can transmit heritable small RNAs that regulate gene expression transgenerationally. In this study, we show that a neuronal process can impact the next generations. Neurons-specific synthesis of RDE-4-dependent small RNAs regulates germline amplified endogenous small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and germline gene expression for multiple generations. Further, the production of small RNAs in neurons controls the chemotaxis behavior of the progeny for at least three generations via the germline Argonaute HRDE-1. Among the targets of these small RNAs, we identified the conserved gene saeg-2, which is transgenerationally downregulated in the germline. Silencing of saeg-2 following neuronal small RNA biogenesis is required for chemotaxis under stress. Thus, we propose a small-RNA-based mechanism for communication of neuronal processes transgenerationally.

KEYWORDS:

C. elegans; epigenetic inheritance; neuronal small RNAs; non-Mendelian inheritance; small RNA inheritance; transgenerational inheritance

PMID:
31178120
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2019.04.029
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