Program in Molecular Medicine; RNA Therapeutics Institute
Cell Biology | Developmental Biology
Programmed cell death occurs in a highly reproducible manner during Caenorhabditis elegans development. We demonstrate that, during embryogenesis, miR-35 and miR-58 bantam family microRNAs (miRNAs) cooperate to prevent the precocious death of mothers of cells programmed to die by repressing the gene egl-1, which encodes a proapoptotic BH3-only protein. In addition, we present evidence that repression of egl-1 is dependent on binding sites for miR-35 and miR-58 family miRNAs within the egl-1 3' untranslated region (UTR), which affect both mRNA copy number and translation. Furthermore, using single-molecule RNA fluorescent in situ hybridization (smRNA FISH), we show that egl-1 is transcribed in the mother of a cell programmed to die and that miR-35 and miR-58 family miRNAs prevent this mother from dying by keeping the copy number of egl-1 mRNA below a critical threshold. Finally, miR-35 and miR-58 family miRNAs can also dampen the transcriptional boost of egl-1 that occurs specifically in a daughter cell that is programmed to die. We propose that miRNAs compensate for lineage-specific differences in egl-1 transcriptional activation, thus ensuring that EGL-1 activity reaches the threshold necessary to trigger death only in daughter cells that are programmed to die.
BH3-only, C. elegans, development, embryo, miRNA, programmed cell death
Rights and Permissions
Copyright 2017 Sherrard et al. Freely available online through the Genes and Development Open Access option.
DOI of Published Version
Genes Dev. 2017 Jan 15;31(2):209-222. Epub 2017 Feb 6. Link to article on publisher's site
Genes and development
Sherrard, Ryan; Luehr, Sebastian; Holzkamp, Heinke; McJunkin, Katherine; Memar, Nadin; and Conradt, Barbara, "miRNAs cooperate in apoptosis regulation during C. elegans development" (2017). Open Access Articles. 3065.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.