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The double-stranded RNA binding protein RDE-4 can act cell autonomously during feeding RNAi in C. elegans.


ABSTRACT: 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.

SUBMITTER: Raman P 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5737277 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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