Developmental programming modulates olfactory behavior in C. elegans via endogenous RNAi pathways

Elife. 2016 Jun 28;5:e11642. doi: 10.7554/eLife.11642.

Abstract

Environmental stress during early development can impact adult phenotypes via programmed changes in gene expression. C. elegans larvae respond to environmental stress by entering the stress-resistant dauer diapause pathway and resume development once conditions improve (postdauers). Here we show that the osm-9 TRPV channel gene is a target of developmental programming and is down-regulated specifically in the ADL chemosensory neurons of postdauer adults, resulting in a corresponding altered olfactory behavior that is mediated by ADL in an OSM-9-dependent manner. We identify a cis-acting motif bound by the DAF-3 SMAD and ZFP-1 (AF10) proteins that is necessary for the differential regulation of osm-9, and demonstrate that both chromatin remodeling and endo-siRNA pathways are major contributors to the transcriptional silencing of the osm-9 locus. This work describes an elegant mechanism by which developmental experience influences adult phenotypes by establishing and maintaining transcriptional changes via RNAi and chromatin remodeling pathways.

Keywords: C. elegans; RNAi; TGF-beta; chromatin; chromosomes; dauer; genes; neuroscience; osm-9; postdauer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Limbic System / embryology*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Olfactory Perception*
  • RNA Interference*
  • Smell*
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism

Substances

  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • OSM-9 protein, C elegans
  • TRPV Cation Channels