Argonautes Promote Male Fertility and Provide a Paternal Memory of Germline Gene Expression in C. elegans
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program
RNA Therapeutics Institute and Program in Molecular Medicine
Bioinformatics | Biology | Cell Biology | Developmental Biology | Genetics | Genomics | Molecular Genetics
During each life cycle, germ cells preserve and pass on both genetic and epigenetic information. In C. elegans, the ALG-3/4 Argonaute proteins are expressed during male gametogenesis and promote male fertility. Here, we show that the CSR-1 Argonaute functions with ALG-3/4 to positively regulate target genes required for spermiogenesis. Our findings suggest that ALG-3/4 functions during spermatogenesis to amplify a small RNA signal that represents an epigenetic memory of male-specific gene expression. CSR-1, which is abundant in mature sperm, appears to transmit this memory to offspring. Surprisingly, in addition to small RNAs targeting male-specific genes, we show that males also harbor an extensive repertoire of CSR-1 small RNAs targeting oogenesis-specific mRNAs. Together, these findings suggest that C. elegans sperm transmit not only the genome but also epigenetic binary signals in the form of Argonaute/small RNA complexes that constitute a memory of gene expression in preceding generations.
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Citation: Conine, C.C., Moresco, J.J., Gu, W., Shirayama, M., Conte, D., Jr., Yates, J.R., 3rd, and Mello, C.C. (2013). Argonautes Promote Male Fertility and Provide a Paternal Memory of Germline Gene Expression in C. elegans. Cell 155(7):1532-1544. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.11.032. Link to article on publisher's website
Epigenetics, RNAi, Small RNA, Argonaute, Germline Sperm
Conine, Colin C.; Moresco, James J.; Gu, Weifeng; Shirayama, Masaki; Conte, Darryl Jr.; Yates, John R. III; and Mello, Craig C., "Argonautes Promote Male Fertility and Provide a Paternal Memory of Germline Gene Expression in C. elegans" (2013). GSBS Student Publications. 1843.