Rachel Posner, Itai Antoine Toker, Olga Antonova, Shahar Bracha, Hila Gingold, Oded Rechavi
It is unknown whether the activity of the nervous sys- tem 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 expres- sion 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.