ABSTRACT: We expressed SID-1, a transmembrane protein from Caenorhabditis elegans that is required for systemic RNA interference (RNAi), in C. elegans neurons. This expression increased the response of neurons to double-stranded (ds)RNA delivered by feeding. Mutations in the lin-15b and lin-35 genes enhanced this effect. Worms expressing neuronal SID-1 showed RNAi phenotypes when fed with bacteria expressing dsRNA for known neuronal genes and for uncharacterized genes with no previously known neuronal phenotypes. Neuronal expression of sid-1 decreased nonneuronal RNAi, suggesting that neurons expressing transgenic sid-1(+) served as a sink for dsRNA. This effect, or a sid-1(-) background, can be used to uncover neuronal defects for lethal genes. Expression of sid-1(+) from cell-specific promoters in sid-1 mutants results in cell-specific feeding RNAi. We used these strains to identify a role for integrin signaling genes in mechanosensation.
Nature Methods 07/2010; 7(7):554-9. · 19.28 Impact Factor