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12.10.20 Probing the role of environmental double-stranded RNA uptake

last modified Oct 16, 2020 03:20 PM
The Miska lab, with colleagues at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, examine worms deficient in dsRNA uptake. These mutants grow faster and longer, but the effect appears independent of nutrition, and suggests environmental dsRNA uptake has a role in RNA communication

SID-2 negatively regulates development likely independent of nutritional dsRNA uptake

Braukmann F et al. (2020) RNA Biol.  Oct 12;1-12. Online ahead of print. 

DOI: 10.1080/15476286.2020.1827619.


Abstract from the paper

RNA interference (RNAi) is a gene regulatory mechanism based on RNA-RNA interaction conserved through eukaryotes. Surprisingly, many animals can take-up human-made double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) from the environment to initiate RNAi suggesting a mechanism for dsRNA-based information exchange between organisms and their environment. However, no naturally occurring example has been identified since the discovery of the phenomenon 22 years ago. Therefore it remains enigmatic why animals are able to take up dsRNA.

Here, we explore other possible functions by performing phenotypic studies of dsRNA uptake deficient sid-2 mutants in Caenorhabditis elegans. We find that SID-2 does not have a nutritional role in feeding experiments using genetic sensitized mutants. Furthermore, we use robot assisted imaging to show that sid-2 mutants accelerate growth rate and, by maternal contribution, body length at hatching. Finally, we perform transcriptome and lipidome analysis showing that sid-2 has no effect on energy storage lipids, but affects signalling lipids and the embryo transcriptome.

Braukmann SID2 graph

Growth curves of sid-2 mutants vs wild type showing that mutants grow faster and longer

Overall, these results suggest that sid-2 has mild effects on development and is unlikely functioning in the nutritional uptake of dsRNA. These findings broaden our understanding of the biological role of SID-2 and motivate studies identifying the role of environmental dsRNA uptake.



Read more about research in the Miska lab.

Watch Eric Miska describe his RNA research on YouTube.

Institute reopening

The Gurdon Institute reopened on Monday 15th June. Many staff will continue to work from home, and all staff may be contacted by email.

Studying development to understand disease

The Gurdon Institute is funded by Wellcome and Cancer Research UK to study the biology of development, and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in cancer and other diseases.

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