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Accession IconSRP157100

The spatial and temporal dynamics of the nuclear RNAi-targeted retrotransposon transcripts in Caenorhabditis elegans [RNA-seq]

Organism Icon Caenorhabditis elegans
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Technology Badge IconIllumina HiSeq 2500

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Small RNA-guided chromatin silencing, also referred to as nuclear RNAi, plays an essential role in genome surveillance in eukaryotes and provides a unique paradigm to explore the complexity in RNA-mediated chromatin regulation and transgenerational epigenetics. A well-recognized paradox in this research area is that transcription of the target loci is necessary for the initiation and maintenance of the silencing at the same loci. How the two opposing activities (transcriptional activation and repression) are coordinated during animal development is poorly understood. To resolve this gap, we took single-molecule RNA imaging, deep-sequencing, and genetic approaches towards delineating the developmental regulation and subcellular localization of RNA transcripts of two exemplary endogenous germline nuclear RNAi targets in C. elegans, Cer3 and Cer8 LTR retrotransposons. By examining the wild type and a collection of mutant strains, we found that transcription and silencing cycle of Cer3 and Cer8 is tightly coupled with the early embryogenesis and germline mitotic and meiotic cell cycles. Strikingly, Cer3 and Cer8 transcripts are exclusively localized in the nuclei of germ cells in both wild type and germline nuclear RNAi-defective mutant animals. RNA-sequencing analysis found that this nuclear enrichment feature is a general feature for the endogenous targets of the germline nuclear RNAi pathway. In addition, the germline and somatic repressions of Cer3 have different genetic requirement for the three H3K9 histone methyltransferases, MET-2, SET-25, and SET-32, in conjunction with the nuclear Argonaute protein WAGO-9/HRDE-1. These results provide a first comprehensive cellular and developmental characterization of the nuclear RNAi-targeted endogenous targets throughout animal reproductive cycle. Altogether, these results support a model in which (1) both the transcriptional activation and repression steps of the germline nuclear RNAi pathway are tightly coupled with animal development, (2) the endogenous targets exhibit a hallmark of nuclear enrichment of their transcripts, and (3) different heterochromatin enzymes play distinct roles in somatic and germline silencing of the endogenous targets. Overall design: 12 rRNA-removed RNA-seq libraries
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