UMMS Affiliation

Program in Molecular Medicine

Date

11-3-2009

Document Type

Article

Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Caenorhabditis elegans; Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins; *Environment; *Feedback, Physiological; Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental; Ligands; MicroRNAs; Models, Biological; Mutation; Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear; Time Factors

Disciplines

Developmental Biology | Genetics | Molecular Biology | Molecular Genetics

Abstract

Animal development is remarkably robust; cell fates are specified with spatial and temporal precision despite physiological and environmental contingencies. Favorable conditions cause Caenorhabditis elegans to develop rapidly through four larval stages (L1-L4) to the reproductive adult. In unfavorable conditions, L2 larvae can enter the developmentally quiescent, stress-resistant dauer larva stage, enabling them to survive for prolonged periods before completing development. A specific progression of cell division and differentiation events occurs with fidelity during the larval stages, regardless of whether an animal undergoes continuous or dauer-interrupted development. The temporal patterning of developmental events is controlled by the heterochronic genes, whose products include microRNAs (miRNAs) and regulatory proteins. One of these proteins, the DAF-12 nuclear hormone receptor, modulates the transcription of certain let-7-family miRNAs, and also mediates the choice between the continuous vs. dauer-interrupted life history. Here, we report a complex feedback loop between DAF-12 and the let-7-family miRNAs involving both the repression of DAF-12 by let-7-family miRNAs and the ligand-modulated transcriptional activation and repression of the let-7-Fam miRNAs by DAF-12. We propose that this feedback loop functions to ensure robustness of cell fate decisions and to coordinate cell fate with developmental arrest.

Comments

Citation: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Nov 3;106(44):18668-73. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0908131106. Epub 2009 Oct 14. Link to article on publisher's site

Publisher PDF posted as allowed by the publisher's author rights policy at http://www.pnas.org/site/aboutpnas/authorfaq.xhtml.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Keywords

gene regulation, microRNA, nuclear hormone receptor

PubMed ID

19828440

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