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Accession IconSRP090696

A team of heterochromatin factors collaborates with small RNA pathways to combat repetitive elements and germline stress [RNA-seq]

Organism Icon Caenorhabditis elegans
Sample Icon 20 Downloadable Samples
Technology Badge IconIllumina HiSeq 1500

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Repetitive sequences derived from transposons make up a large fraction of eukaryotic genomes and must be silenced to protect genome integrity. Repetitive elements are often found in heterochromatin; however, the roles and interactions of heterochromatin proteins in repeat regulation are poorly understood. Here we show that a diverse set of C. elegans heterochromatin proteins act together with the piRNA and nuclear RNAi pathways to silence repetitive elements and prevent genotoxic stress in the germ line. Mutants in genes encoding HPL-2/HP1, LIN-13, LIN-61, LET-418/Mi-2, and H3K9me2 histone methyltransferase MET-2/SETDB1 also show functionally redundant sterility, increased germline apoptosis, DNA repair defects, and interactions with small RNA pathways. Remarkably, fertility of heterochromatin mutants could be partially restored by inhibiting cep-1/p53, endogenous meiotic double strand breaks, or the expression of MIRAGE1 DNA transposons. Functional redundancy among these factors and pathways underlies the importance of safeguarding the genome through multiple means. Overall design: Synchronized, starved L1 stage worms were grown on NGM plates under one of two conditions. Condition 1: growth was at 20°C (hpl-2, let-418, lin-61, met-2 set-25, and wild-type N2) until the L4 stage and then worms were shifted to 25°C for 15-18 hours until they reached young adult stage. Condition 2: growth was at 15°C (lin-13, prg-1, nrde-2, nrde-2; let-418, and wild-type N2) until the L4 stage, and then worms were shifted to 25°C for 15-18 hours until they reached young adult stage. Worms were then washed off plates, flash frozen in liquid nitrogen, and stored at -80°C until use. RNA was extracted from frozen worms using TriPure (Roche). RNA was purified with Zymo Research RNA Clean and Concentrator-5 (Cambridge Bioscience) following DNase I digestion. Ribosomal RNA was depleted using Ribo-Zero rRNA Removal Kit (Human/Mouse/Rat) (Illumina). Libraries were prepared using the NEBNext Ultra Directional RNA Library Prep Kit for Illumina (New England Biolabs). Two biological replicates were prepared for each strain.
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