A Genome-wide RNAi screen identifies factors required for distinct stages of C. elegans piRNA biogenesis
ABSTRACT: In animals, piRNAs, and their associated Piwi proteins, guard germ cell genomes against mobile genetic elements via an RNAi-like mechanism. In C. elegans, 21U-RNAs comprise the piRNA class and these collaborate with 22G RNAs, via unclear mechanisms, to discriminate self from non-self and selectively and heritably silence the latter. Recent work indicates that 21U-RNAs are post-transcriptional processing products of individual transcription units that produce ~26 nucleotide capped precursors. Yet, nothing is known of how the expression of precursors is controlled or of how primary transcripts give rise to mature small RNAs. We conducted a genome-wide RNAi screen to identify components of the 21U biogenesis machinery. Screening by direct, qPCR-based measurements of mature 21U-RNA levels, we identified 22 genes important for 21U-RNA production, termed TOFUs (Twenty-One-u Fouled Up). We also identified 7 genes that normally repress 21U production. By measuring mature 21U-RNA and precursor levels for the 7 strongest hits from the screen, we have assigned factors to discrete stages of 21U-RNA production. Our work has identified factors separately required for the transcription of 21U precursors, and the processing of these precursors into mature 21U-RNAs, thereby providing an essential resource for studying the biogenesis of this important small RNA class. Small RNA and capped small RNA sequencing from total RNA of C. elegans subjected to different RNAi and different C. elegans mutants
Project description:Piwi-interacting (pi) RNAs are a class of germline-expressed small RNAs that have been linked to epigenetic programming in metazoa. C. elegans piRNAs known as 21U-RNAs are defined by more than 15,000 genome-encoded species. To explore the origin of 21U-RNAs we employed methods to enrich the 5' ends of Pol II transcripts. We show that a species of capped-short (cs) RNA is frequently expressed bidirectionally at Pol II loci in C. elegans. Interestingly, at annotated 21U-RNA loci, csRNAs originate precisely 2 nt upstream of the mature piRNA species suggesting that csRNAs are piRNA precursors. In addition, we show that csRNAs associated with TS sites genome-wide define a previously overlooked class of 21U-RNA loci, and nearly double the number of piRNA species available for genome surveillance. Our methods should be of general utility in TS site identification and 5' anchored RNA-expression profiling. Identification of capped RNA including capped small RNA and long capped RNA in C. elegans. The mouse data are independent data to test the CapSeq sequencing protocol.
Project description:Piwi Argonautes and Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) mediate genome defense by targeting transposons. However, many piRNA species lack obvious sequence complementarity to transposons or other loci. For example, only one C. elegans transposon is a known piRNA target. Here we show that, in mutants lacking the Piwi Argonaute PRG-1 and associated piRNAs (21U-RNAs), many silent loci in the germline exhibit increased levels of mRNA expression and depletion of an amplified RNAdependent RNA polymerase (RdRP)-derived species of small RNA termed 22G-RNAs. Sequences depleted of 22G-RNAs are enriched nearby potential target sites that base pair imperfectly but extensively to 21U-RNAs. We show that PRG-1 is required to initiate, but not to maintain, silencing of transgenes engineered to contain complementarity to endogenous 21U-RNAs. Our findings support a model in which C. elegans piRNAs utilize their enormous repertoire of targeting capacity to scan the germline transcriptome for foreign sequences, while endogenous germline-expressed genes are actively protected from piRNA-induced silencing. Examine small RNA population changes in prg-1 and rescued strains
Project description:Small endogenous C. elegans RNAs from L4 and young adult worms were prepared for sequencing using a protocol derived from Batista et al., (2008) and Lau et al. (2001). The small-RNA libraries were constructed using a method that does not require a 5’ monophosphate (called 5’ monophosphate-independent method, Ambros et al., 2003) to profile secondary siRNAs that have 5’ triphosphorylated G. All preprocessed small-RNA reads were mapped to genome (ce6), allowing no mismatches. After excluding miRNAs, 21U RNAs, rRNAs, and other structural ncRNAs, the remaining reads were classified as 22G RNAs, 26G RNAs, and other siRNAs, based on their length and 5′ terminal nucleotide. Small-RNA libraries were sequenced in L4 and young adult stages in C.elegans.
Project description:Animal germ cells employ small RNA-based mechanisms to recognize and silence DNA that invades their genome. One of these pathways is named the Piwi:piRNA pathway. Biogenesis of piRNAs is poorly understood. In C. elegans, the piRNA (21U-RNA)-binding Argonaute protein PRG-1 is the only known player acting downstream of pre-cursor transcription. From a screen aimed at the isolation of ‘piRNA-induced silencing defective’ mutations we identified, amongst known Piwi-pathway components like MUT-7, RDE-3 and HRDE-1, PID-1 as a novel player. PID-1 is essential for 21U RNA biogenesis and affects an early step in the processing or transport of 21U precursor transcripts. 12 small RNA samples were analyzed as singletons.
Project description:These datasets profile the expression of small RNAs with 5p monophosphates and 3p hydroxyls (including miRNAs, 21U-RNAs) across C. elegans development and in dauer, glp-4 mutant, and mixed-stage wt worms. These datasets were prepared in the David P. Bartel laboratory using T4 RNA ligase Rnl2(1-249). Keywords: miRNA and 21U-RNA discovery and developmental expression profiling CE-devProfile-5pDependent-Illumina 1 flowcell each for Embryo, L1, L2, L3, L4, Adult, Dauer, Glp-4 mutant; 6 flowcells mixed stage
Project description:These datasets profile the expression of small RNAs with 5p monophosphates and 3p hydroxyls (including miRNAs, 21U-RNAs) in young adult worms from the wt, prg-1 mutant, and fog-2 mutant backgrounds. These datasets were prepared in the Craig C. Mello laboratory using T4 RNA ligase 1. Keywords: miRNA and 21U-RNA discovery and mutant expression profiling CE-mutProfile-5pDependent-Illumina 1 flowcell each for the wt, prg-1 mutant, and fog-2 mutant
Project description:During embryonic germ cell development in mice, transposon-enriched, piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) guide MILI and MIWI2 to direct silencing of potentially active mobile element families. In contrast, we know much less about the function of the highly abundant and extremely diverse class of piRNAs, which partner with MIWI and MILI during meiosis. Both MIWI and its catalytic activity are required for successful spermatogenesis, strongly indicating that piRNA-guided cleavage is critical for germ cell development. To gain an understanding of meiotic piRNA targets, we augmented the mouse piRNA repertoire by introducing an entire human meiotic piRNA cluster. This triggered a spermatogenesis defect, presumably by inappropriately targeting the piRNA machinery to mouse RNAs essential for germ cell development. Through an analysis of such de novo targets, we derived a signature for pachytene piRNA target recognition. This enabled identification of both transposable elements and meiotically expressed protein coding genes as targets of native piRNAs. Cleavage of genic targets begins at the pachytene stage when meiotic piRNAs first appear. As such, target mRNA levels attenuate starting from the pachytene stage and are further repressed throughout meiosis. Target mRNA-piRNA pairs also show evidence of an ongoing cleavage-dependent amplification cycle, which is not normally a strong feature of meiotic piRNAs. Our data support the idea that meiotic piRNA populations must be strongly selected to enable successful spermatogenesis, both driving the response away from essential genes and directing the pathway toward mRNA targets that are regulated by small RNAs in meiotic cells. 48 samples
Project description:C. Elegans 21U-RNAs are equivalent to the piRNAs discovered in other metazoans and have important roles in gametogenesis and transposon control. The biogenesis and molecular function of 21U-RNAs and piRNAs are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that transcription of each 21U-RNA is regulated separately through a conserved upstream DNA motif. We use genomic analysis to show that this motif is associated with low nucleosome occupancy, a characteristic of many promoters that drive expression of protein-coding genes, and that RNA polymerase II is localized to this nucleosome-depleted region. We establish that the most conserved 8-mer sequence in the upstream region of 21U-RNAs, CTGTTTCA, is absolutely required for their individual expression. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the 8-mer is specifically recognized by Fordhead family (FKH) transcription factors and that 21U-RNA expression is diminished in several FKH mutants. Our results demonstrate a novel paradigm for simultaneous regulation of thousands of small non-coding transcription units. Comparisons of H3 and H2B positions on Chromosome 4 relative to the positions of 21U-RNAs.
Project description:To address the role of small regulatory RNAs in rice development, we generated a large data set of small RNAs from root apices (RoApx), shoot apices (ShApx), developing inflorescence (Infl) and mature leaf (Leaf). These tissues were chosen because they are expected to be rich in small RNAs and display different patterns of small RNA expression. The RoApx, ShApx, and Infl samples are expected to be enriched for meristematic tissues each of which have different fates. The Infl sample would also be expected to contain developing female gametes. In contrast, the Leaf sample is terminally differentiated and may be expected to be more transcriptionally repressed. These small RNAs comprise a total of 781,885 distinct sequences, and all of these map to at least one locus of the rice genome TIGR version 5. Total RNA was extracted from root apices, shoot apices, developing inflorescence and mature leaf. Three samples from each tissue were taken to represent replicates and small RNAs from these were ligated to a common 5' RNA adapter and a replicate-specific 3' adapter. These replicate samples were then identified from within single 454 data sets using the 3' adapter sequence. It should be noted that there was a strong frequency bias observed between the RNA sequence and the particular 3' adapter used in the sequencing. This resulted in both increased or decreased read counts for the known miRNA sequences in a 3' adapter dependent fashion. Use of the three samples for each tissue as replicates is therefore problematic.
Project description:Argonaute/Piwi proteins associate with small RNAs that typically provide sequence specificity for RNP function in gene and genome regulation. Here we show that Twi12, a Tetrahymena Piwi protein essential for growth, is loaded with mature tRNA fragments. The tightly bound ~18-22 nt tRNA 3’ fragments are biochemically distinct from the tRNA halves produced transiently in response to stress. Notably, the end positions of Twi12-bound tRNA 3' fragments precisely match RNAs detected in total small RNA of mouse embryonic stem cells and human cancer cells. Our studies demonstrate unanticipated evolutionary conservation of mature tRNA processing to tRNA-fragment small RNAs. Two libraries are analyzed here: sRNAs associated with slightly overexpressed ZZ-tagged Twi12 purified under native conditions (size range 15-34nt), and those associated after formaldehyde crosslinking (15-22nt).