1. Chromosomes and Gene Expression
  2. Genetics and Genomics
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Stress resets ancestral heritable small RNA responses

  1. Leah Houri Zeevi  Is a corresponding author
  2. Guy Teichman  Is a corresponding author
  3. Hila Gingold
  4. Oded Rechavi  Is a corresponding author
  1. Tel Aviv University, Israel
Research Article
  • Cited 2
  • Views 4,362
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Cite this article as: eLife 2021;10:e65797 doi: 10.7554/eLife.65797

Abstract

Transgenerational inheritance of small RNAs challenges basic concepts of heredity. In C. elegans nematodes, small RNAs are transmitted across generations to establish a transgenerational memory trace of ancestral environments and distinguish self-genes from non-self-elements. Carryover of aberrant heritable small RNA responses was shown to be maladaptive and to lead to sterility. Here we show that various types of stress (starvation, high temperatures, and high osmolarity) induce resetting of ancestral small RNA responses and a genome-wide reduction in heritable small RNA levels. We found that mutants that are defective in various stress pathways exhibit irregular RNAi inheritance dynamics even in the absence of stress. Moreover, we discovered that resetting of ancestral RNAi responses is specifically orchestrated by factors that function in the p38 MAPK pathway and the transcription factor SKN-1/Nrf2. Stress-dependent termination of small RNA inheritance could protect from run-on of environment-irrelevant heritable gene regulation.

Data availability

Sequencing data have been deposited in GEO under accession codes GSE129988

The following data sets were generated
The following previously published data sets were used

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Leah Houri Zeevi

    Neurobiology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
    For correspondence
    leah.houri@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-2903-5082
  2. Guy Teichman

    Neurobiology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
    For correspondence
    guy.teichman@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Hila Gingold

    Neurobiology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Oded Rechavi

    Neurobiology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
    For correspondence
    odedrechavi@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-6172-3024

Funding

Clore Foundation (Graduate Student Fellowship)

  • Leah Houri Zeevi

Milner Foundation (Graduate Student Fellowship)

  • Guy Teichman

European Research Council (#335624)

  • Oded Rechavi

Israel Science Foundation (#1339/17)

  • Oded Rechavi

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Kevin Struhl, Harvard Medical School, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: December 30, 2020
  2. Accepted: March 15, 2021
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: March 17, 2021 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: April 4, 2021 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2021, Houri Zeevi 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.

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