In C. elegans, high levels of dsRNA allow RNAi in the absence of RDE-4.
ABSTRACT: C. elegans Dicer requires an accessory double-stranded RNA binding protein, RDE-4, to enact the first step of RNA interference, the cleavage of dsRNA to produce siRNA. While RDE-4 is typically essential for RNAi, we report that in the presence of high concentrations of trigger dsRNA, rde-4 deficient animals are capable of silencing a transgene. By multiple criteria the silencing occurs by the canonical RNAi pathway. For example, silencing is RDE-1 dependent and exhibits a decrease in the targeted mRNA in response to an increase in siRNA. We also find that high concentrations of dsRNA trigger lead to increased accumulation of primary siRNAs, consistent with the existence of a rate-limiting step during the conversion of primary to secondary siRNAs. Our studies also revealed that transgene silencing occurs at low levels in the soma, even in the presence of ADARs, and that at least some siRNAs accumulate in a temperature-dependent manner. We conclude that an RNAi response varies with different conditions, and this may allow an organism to tailor a response to specific environmental signals.
Project description:Cellular dsRNAs are edited by adenosine deaminases that act on RNA (ADARs). While editing can alter mRNA-coding potential, most editing occurs in noncoding sequences, the function of which is poorly understood. Using dsRNA immunoprecipitation (dsRIP) and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), we identified 1523 regions of clustered A-to-I editing, termed editing-enriched regions (EERs), in four stages of Caenorhabditis elegans development, often with highest expression in embryos. Analyses of small RNA-seq data revealed 22- to 23-nucleotide (nt) siRNAs, reminiscent of viral siRNAs, that mapped to EERs and were abundant in adr-1;adr-2 mutant animals. Consistent with roles for these siRNAs in silencing, EER-associated genes (EAGs) were down-regulated in adr-1;adr-2 embryos, and this was dependent on associated EERs and the RNAi factor RDE-4. We observed that ADARs genetically interact with the 26G endogenous siRNA (endo-siRNA) pathway, which likely competes for RNAi components; deletion of factors required for this pathway (rrf-3 or ergo-1) in adr-1;adr-2 mutant strains caused a synthetic phenotype that was rescued by deleting antiviral RNAi factors. Poly(A)+ RNA-seq revealed EAG down-regulation and antiviral gene induction in adr-1;adr-2;rrf-3 embryos, and these expression changes were dependent on rde-1 and rde-4 Our data suggest that ADARs restrict antiviral silencing of cellular dsRNAs.
Project description:In nematodes, plants, and fungi, RNAi is remarkably potent and persistent due to the amplification of initial silencing signals by RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRPs). In Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), the interaction between the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) loaded with primary small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and the target messenger RNA (mRNA) leads to the recruitment of RdRPs and synthesis of secondary siRNAs using the target mRNA as the template. The mechanism and genetic requirements for secondary siRNA accumulation are not well understood.From a forward genetic screen for C. elegans genes required for RNAi, we identified rde-10, and through proteomic analysis of RDE-10-interacting proteins, we identified a protein complex containing the new RNAi factor RDE-11, the known RNAi factors RSD-2 and ERGO-1, and other candidate RNAi factors. The RNAi defective genes rde-10 and rde-11 encode a novel protein and a RING-type zinc finger domain protein, respectively. Mutations in rde-10 and rde-11 genes cause dosage-sensitive RNAi deficiencies: these mutants are resistant to low dosage but sensitive to high dosage of double-stranded RNAs. We assessed the roles of rde-10, rde-11, and other dosage-sensitive RNAi-defective genes rsd-2, rsd-6, and haf-6 in both exogenous and endogenous small RNA pathways using high-throughput sequencing and qRT-PCR. These genes are required for the accumulation of secondary siRNAs in both exogenous and endogenous RNAi pathways.The RDE-10/RDE-11 complex is essential for the amplification of RNAi in C. elegans by promoting secondary siRNA accumulation.
Project description:Long double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) can silence genes of matching sequence upon ingestion in many invertebrates and is therefore being developed as a pesticide. Such feeding RNA interference (RNAi) is best understood in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, where the dsRNA-binding protein RDE-4 initiates silencing by recruiting an endonuclease to process long dsRNA into short dsRNA. These short dsRNAs are thought to move between cells because muscle-specific rescue of rde-4 using repetitive transgenes enables silencing in other tissues. Here, we extend this observation using additional promoters, report an inhibitory effect of repetitive transgenes, and discover conditions for cell-autonomous silencing in animals with tissue-specific rescue of rde-4. While expression of rde-4(+) in intestine, hypodermis, or neurons using a repetitive transgene can enable silencing also in unrescued tissues, silencing can be inhibited wihin tissues that express a repetitive transgene. Single-copy transgenes that express rde-4(+) in body-wall muscles or hypodermis, however, enable silencing selectively in the rescued tissue but not in other tissues. These results suggest that silencing by the movement of short dsRNA between cells is not an obligatory feature of feeding RNAi in C. elegans. We speculate that similar control of dsRNA movement could modulate tissue-specific silencing by feeding RNAi in other invertebrates.
Project description:RNA interference (RNAi) is a post-transcriptional silencing process, triggered by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), leading to the destabilization of homologous mRNAs. A distinction has been made between endogenous RNAi-related pathways and the exogenous RNAi pathway, the latter being essential for the experimental use of RNAi. Previous studies have shown that, in Caenorhabditis elegans, a complex containing the enzymes Dicer and the Argonaute RDE-1 process dsRNA. Dicer is responsible for cleaving dsRNA into short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) while RDE-1 acts as the siRNA acceptor. RDE-1 then guides a multi-protein complex to homologous targets to trigger mRNA destabilization. However, endogenous role(s) for RDE-1, if any, have remained unexplored. We here show that RDE-1 functions as a scavenger protein, taking up small RNA molecules from many different sources, including the microRNA (miRNA) pathway. This is in striking contrast to Argonaute proteins functioning directly in the miRNA pathway, ALG-1 and ALG-2: these proteins exclusively bind miRNAs. While playing no significant role in the biogenesis of the main pool of miRNAs, RDE-1 binds endogenous miRNAs and triggers RdRP activity on at least one perfectly matching, endogenous miRNA target. The resulting secondary siRNAs are taken up by a set of Argonaute proteins known to act as siRNA acceptors in exogenous RNAi, resulting in strong mRNA destabilization. Our results show that RDE-1 in an endogenous setting is actively screening the transcriptome using many different small RNAs, including miRNAs, as a guide, with implications for the evolution of transcripts with a potential to be recognized by Dicer.
Project description:In Caenorhabditis elegans, the activity of transposable elements is repressed in the germline. One of the mechanisms involved in this repression is RNA interference (RNAi), a process in which dsRNA targets cleavage of mRNAs in a sequence-specific manner. The first gene found to be involved in RNAi and transposon silencing in C.elegans is mut-7, a gene encoding a putative exoribonuclease. Here, we show that the MUT-7 protein resides in complexes of approximately 250 kDa in the nucleus and in the cytosol. In addition, we find that upon triggering of RNAi the cytosolic MUT-7 complex increases in size. This increase is independent of the presence of target RNA, but does depend on the presence of RDE-1 and RDE-4, two proteins involved in small interfering RNA (siRNA) production. Finally, using a yeast two-hybrid screen, we identified RDE-2/MUT-8 as one of the other components of this complex. This protein is encoded by the rde-2/mut-8 locus, previously implicated in RNAi and transposon silencing. Using genetic complementation analysis, we show that the interaction between these two proteins is required for efficient RNAi in vivo. Together these data support a role for the MUT-7/RDE-2 complex downstream of siRNA formation, but upstream of siRNA mediated target RNA recognition, possibly indicating a role in the siRNA amplification step.
Project description:Argonaute (AGO) proteins are key nuclease effectors of RNAi. Although purified AGOs can mediate a single round of target RNA cleavage in vitro, accessory factors are required for small interfering RNA (siRNA) loading and to achieve multiple-target turnover. To identify AGO cofactors, we immunoprecipitated the C. elegans AGO WAGO-1, which engages amplified small RNAs during RNAi. These studies identified a robust association between WAGO-1 and a conserved Vasa ATPase-related protein RDE-12. rde-12 mutants are deficient in RNAi, including viral suppression, and fail to produce amplified secondary siRNAs and certain endogenous siRNAs (endo-siRNAs). RDE-12 colocalizes with WAGO-1 in germline P granules and in cytoplasmic and perinuclear foci in somatic cells. These findings and our genetic studies suggest that RDE-12 is first recruited to target mRNA by upstream AGOs (RDE-1 and ERGO-1), where it promotes small RNA amplification and/or WAGO-1 loading. Downstream of these events, RDE-12 forms an RNase-resistant (target mRNA-independent) complex with WAGO-1 and may thus have additional functions in target mRNA surveillance and silencing.
Project description:RNAi is a potent mechanism for downregulating gene expression. Conserved RNAi pathway components are found in animals, plants, fungi, and other eukaryotes. In C. elegans, the RNAi response is greatly amplified by the synthesis of abundant secondary small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Exogenous double-stranded RNA is processed by Dicer and RDE-1/Argonaute into primary siRNA that guides target mRNA recognition. The RDE-10/RDE-11 complex and the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase RRF-1 then engage the target mRNA for secondary siRNA synthesis. However, the molecular link between primary siRNA production and secondary siRNA synthesis remains largely unknown. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the subcellular sites for target mRNA recognition and degradation coincide with sites where siRNA synthesis and amplification occur. In the C. elegans germline, cytoplasmic P granules at the nuclear pores and perinuclear Mutator foci contribute to target mRNA surveillance and siRNA amplification, respectively. We report that RDE-12, a conserved phenylalanine-glycine (FG) domain-containing DEAD box helicase, localizes in P granules and cytoplasmic foci that are enriched in RSD-6 but are excluded from the Mutator foci. Our results suggest that RDE-12 promotes secondary siRNA synthesis by orchestrating the recruitment of RDE-10 and RRF-1 to primary siRNA-targeted mRNA in distinct cytoplasmic compartments.
Project description:Organism-wide RNA interference (RNAi) is due to the transport of mobile silencing RNA throughout the organism, but the identities of these mobile RNA species in animals are unknown. Here, we present genetic evidence that both the initial double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), which triggers RNAi, and at least one dsRNA intermediate produced during RNAi can act as or generate mobile silencing RNA in C. elegans. This dsRNA intermediate requires the long dsRNA-binding protein RDE-4, the endonuclease DCR-1, which cleaves long dsRNA into double-stranded short-interfering RNA (ds-siRNA), and the putative nucleotidyltransferase MUT-2 (RDE-3). However, single-stranded siRNA and downstream secondary siRNA produced upon amplification by the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase RRF-1 do not generate mobile silencing RNA. Restricting intertissue transport to long dsRNA and directly processed siRNA intermediates rather than amplified siRNA may serve to modulate the extent of systemic silencing in proportion to available dsRNA.
Project description:Adenosine deaminases that act on RNA (ADARs) catalyze the conversion of adenosine to inosine in dsRNA. C. elegans ADARs, ADR-1 and ADR-2, promote the expression of genes containing dsRNA structures by preventing their processing into siRNAs and silencing by RNAi. The 26G endogenous siRNA (endo-siRNA) pathway generates a subset of siRNAs distinct from those made in adr-1;adr-2 mutants, but using many of the same factors. We found that adr-1;adr-2;rrf-3 mutants, lacking both ADARs and the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase RRF-3 required for the 26G pathway, display a bursting phenotype rescued by the RNAi factors RDE-1 and RDE-4. To determine what gene expression changes underlie the synthetic phenotype of adr-1;adr-2;rrf-3 mutants, we sequenced poly(A)+ RNA from adr-1;adr-2;rrf-3 embryos, their parent strains, and strains rescued with mutations in rde-1 and rde-4. We found that genes associated with edited structures were robustly downregulated in adr-1;adr-2;rrf-3 mutants in a manner partially dependent on rde-1 and rde-4. Additionally, genes induced during Orsay virus infections were induced in rrf-3 mutants and further upregulated in adr-1;adr-2;rrf-3 mutants, again dependent in part on rde-1 and rde-4. Overall design: RNAseq of poly(A)+ RNA from C.elegans mixed-stage embryos, four biological replicates per genotype, six genotypes: wildtype (Bristol N2), adr-1(uu49);adr-2(uu28), rrf-3(uu56), adr-1(uu49);adr-2(uu28);rrf-3(uu56), adr-1(uu49);adr-2(uu28);rrf-3(uu56);rde-1(uu51), and adr-1(uu49);adr-2(uu28);rrf-3(uu56);rde-4(uu53).
Project description:Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) molecules of viral origin trigger a post-transcriptional gene-silencing mechanism called RNA interference (RNAi). Specifically, virally derived dsRNA is recognized and cleaved by the enzyme Dicer2 into short interfering RNAs (siRNAs), which further direct sequence-specific RNA silencing, ultimately silencing replication of the virus. Notably, RNAi can also be artificially triggered by the delivery of gene-specific dsRNA, thereby leading to endogenous gene silencing. This is a widely used technology that holds great potential to contribute to novel pest control strategies. In this regard, research efforts have been set to find methods to efficiently trigger RNAi in the field. In this article, we demonstrate the generation of dsRNA- and/or virus-derived siRNAs-the main RNAi effectors-in six insect species belonging to five economically important orders (Lepidoptera, Orthoptera, Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, and Diptera). In addition, we describe that the siRNA length distribution is species-dependent. Taken together, our results reveal interspecies variability in the (antiviral) RNAi mechanism in insects and show promise to contribute to future research on (viral-based) RNAi-triggering mechanisms in this class of animals.