Article

Protection from Feed-Forward Amplification in an Amplified RNAi Mechanism.

Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Cell (Impact Factor: 33.12). 11/2012; 151(4):885-99. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.10.022
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The effectiveness of RNA interference (RNAi) in many organisms is potentiated through the signal-amplifying activity of a targeted RNA-directed RNA polymerase (RdRP) system that can convert a small population of exogenously-encountered dsRNA fragments into an abundant internal pool of small interfering RNA (siRNA). As for any biological amplification system, we expect an underlying architecture that will limit the ability of a randomly encountered trigger to produce an uncontrolled and self-escalating response. Investigating such limits in Caenorhabditis elegans, we find that feed-forward amplification is limited by biosynthetic and structural distinctions at the RNA level between (1) triggers that can produce amplification and (2) siRNA products of the amplification reaction. By assuring that initial (primary) siRNAs can act as triggers but not templates for activation, and that the resulting (secondary) siRNAs can enforce gene silencing on additional targets without unbridled trigger amplification, the system achieves substantial but fundamentally limited signal amplification.

0 Followers
 · 
84 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In various organisms, an efficient RNAi response can be triggered by feeding cells with bacteria producing double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) against an endogenous gene. However, the detailed mechanisms and natural functions of this pathway are not well understood in most cases. Here, we studied siRNA biogenesis from exogenous RNA and its genetic overlap with endogenous RNAi in the ciliate Paramecium tetraurelia by high-throughput sequencing. Using wild-type and mutant strains deficient for dsRNA feeding we found that high levels of primary siRNAs of both strands are processed from the ingested dsRNA trigger by the Dicer Dcr1, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerases Rdr1 and Rdr2 and other factors. We further show that this induces the synthesis of secondary siRNAs spreading along the entire endogenous mRNA, demonstrating the occurrence of both 3'-to-5' and 5'-to-3' transitivity for the first time in the SAR clade of eukaryotes (Stramenopiles, Alveolates, Rhizaria). Secondary siRNAs depend on Rdr2 and show a strong antisense bias; they are produced at much lower levels than primary siRNAs and hardly contribute to RNAi efficiency. We further provide evidence that the Paramecium RNAi machinery also processes single-stranded RNAs from its bacterial food, broadening the possible natural functions of exogenously induced RNAi in this organism. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.
    Nucleic Acids Research 01/2015; 43(3). DOI:10.1093/nar/gku1331 · 8.81 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Effective silencing by RNA-interference (RNAi) depends on mechanisms that amplify and propagate the silencing signal. In some organisms, small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are amplified from target mRNAs by RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP). Both RdRP recruitment and mRNA silencing require Argonaute proteins, which are generally thought to degrade RNAi targets by directly cleaving them. However, in C. elegans, the enzymatic activity of the primary Argonaute, RDE-1, is not required for silencing activity. We show that RDE-1 can instead recruit an endoribonuclease, RDE-8, to target RNA. RDE-8 can cleave RNA in vitro and is needed for the production of 3' uridylated fragments of target mRNA in vivo. We also find that RDE-8 promotes RdRP activity, thereby ensuring amplification of siRNAs. Together, our findings suggest a model in which RDE-8 cleaves target mRNAs to mediate silencing, while generating 3' uridylated mRNA fragments to serve as templates for the RdRP-directed amplification of the silencing signal. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Cell 01/2015; 160(3):407-419. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2015.01.010 · 33.12 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, different small RNA-dependent gene silencing mechanisms act in the germline to initiate transgenerational gene silencing. Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) can initiate transposon and gene silencing by acting upstream of endogenous short interfering RNAs (siRNAs), which engage a nuclear RNA interference (RNAi) pathway to trigger transcriptional gene silencing. Once gene silencing has been established, it can be stably maintained over multiple generations without the requirement of the initial trigger and is also referred to as RNAe or paramutation. This heritable silencing depends on the integrity of the nuclear RNAi pathway. However, the exact mechanism by which silencing is maintained across generations is not understood. Here we demonstrate that silencing of piRNA targets involves the production of two distinct classes of small RNAs with different genetic requirements. The first class, secondary siRNAs, are localized close to the direct target site for piRNAs. Nuclear import of the secondary siRNAs by the Argonaute HRDE-1 leads to the production of a distinct class of small RNAs that map throughout the transcript, which we term tertiary siRNAs. Both classes of small RNAs are necessary for full repression of the target gene and can be maintained independently of the initial piRNA trigger. Consistently, we observed a form of paramutation associated with tertiary siRNAs. Once paramutated, a tertiary siRNA generating allele confers dominant silencing in the progeny regardless of its own transmission, suggesting germline-transmitted siRNAs are sufficient for multigenerational silencing. This work uncovers a multi-step siRNA amplification pathway that promotes germline integrity via epigenetic silencing of endogenous and invading genetic elements. In addition, the same pathway can be engaged in environmentally induced heritable gene silencing and could therefore promote the inheritance of acquired traits.
    PLoS Genetics 03/2015; 11(3):e1005078. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005078 · 8.17 Impact Factor

Preview

Download
0 Downloads
Available from