Across species, lifespan is highly variable among individuals within a population. Even genetically identical C. elegans reared in homogeneous environments are as variable in lifespan as outbred human populations. We hypothesized that persistent inter-individual differences in expression of key regulatory genes drives this lifespan variability. As a test, we examined the relationship between future lifespan and the expression of 22 microRNA promoter::GFP constructs. Surprisingly, expression of nearly half of these reporters, well before death, could effectively predict lifespan. This indicates that prospectively long- vs. short-lived individuals have highly divergent patterns of transgene expression and transcriptional regulation. The gene-regulatory processes reported on by two of the most lifespan-predictive transgenes do not require DAF-16, the FOXO transcription factor that is a principal effector of insulin/insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) signaling. Last, we demonstrate a hierarchy of redundancy in lifespan-predictive ability among three transgenes expressed in distinct tissues, suggesting that they collectively report on an organism-wide, cell non-autonomous process that acts to set each individual's lifespan.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for all figures and tables.
- Holly E Kinser
- Matthew C Mosley
- Isaac B Plutzer
- Zachary Pincus
- Holly E Kinser
- Zachary Pincus
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Jan Gruber, Yale-NUS College, Singapore
© 2021, Kinser et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The cohesin complex plays essential roles in chromosome segregation, 3D genome organisation, and DNA damage repair through its ability to modify DNA topology. In higher eukaryotes, meiotic chromosome function, and therefore fertility, requires cohesin complexes containing meiosis-specific kleisin subunits: REC8 and RAD21L in mammals and REC-8 and COH-3/4 in Caenorhabditis elegans. How these complexes perform the multiple functions of cohesin during meiosis and whether this involves different modes of DNA binding or dynamic association with chromosomes is poorly understood. Combining time-resolved methods of protein removal with live imaging and exploiting the temporospatial organisation of the C. elegans germline, we show that REC-8 complexes provide sister chromatid cohesion (SCC) and DNA repair, while COH-3/4 complexes control higher-order chromosome structure. High-abundance COH-3/4 complexes associate dynamically with individual chromatids in a manner dependent on cohesin loading (SCC-2) and removal (WAPL-1) factors. In contrast, low-abundance REC-8 complexes associate stably with chromosomes, tethering sister chromatids from S-phase until the meiotic divisions. Our results reveal that kleisin identity determines the function of meiotic cohesin by controlling the mode and regulation of cohesin–DNA association, and are consistent with a model in which SCC and DNA looping are performed by variant cohesin complexes that coexist on chromosomes.
Though long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) represent a substantial fraction of the Pol II transcripts in multicellular animals, only a few have known functions. Here we report that the blocking activity of the Bithorax complex (BX-C) Fub-1 boundary is segmentally regulated by its own lncRNA. The Fub-1 boundary is located between the Ultrabithorax (Ubx) gene and the bxd/pbx regulatory domain, which is responsible for regulating Ubx expression in parasegment PS6/segment A1. Fub-1 consists of two hypersensitive sites, HS1 and HS2. HS1 is an insulator while HS2 functions primarily as an lncRNA promoter. To activate Ubx expression in PS6/A1, enhancers in the bxd/pbx domain must be able to bypass Fub-1 blocking activity. We show that the expression of the Fub-1 lncRNAs in PS6/A1 from the HS2 promoter inactivates Fub-1 insulating activity. Inactivation is due to read-through as the HS2 promoter must be directed toward HS1 to disrupt blocking.