Neuronal Small RNAs Control Behavior Transgenerationally

Publication

Cell

Author(s)

Rachel Posner, Itai Antoine Toker, Olga Antonova, Shahar Bracha, Hila Gingold, Oded Rechavi

Abstract

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.

Date

June 6, 2019

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