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Full-Text Articles in Molecular Biology

A Microrna Family Exerts Maternal Control On Sex Determination In C. Elegans, Katherine Mcjunkin, Victor R. Ambros Feb 2017

A Microrna Family Exerts Maternal Control On Sex Determination In C. Elegans, Katherine Mcjunkin, Victor R. Ambros

Program in Molecular Medicine Publications and Presentations

Gene expression in early animal embryogenesis is in large part controlled post-transcriptionally. Maternally contributed microRNAs may therefore play important roles in early development. We elucidated a major biological role of the nematode mir-35 family of maternally contributed essential microRNAs. We show that this microRNA family regulates the sex determination pathway at multiple levels, acting both upstream of and downstream from her-1 to prevent aberrantly activated male developmental programs in hermaphrodite embryos. Both of the predicted target genes that act downstream from the mir-35 family in this process, suppressor-26 (sup-26) and NHL (NCL-1, HT2A, and LIN-41 repeat) domain-containing-2 (nhl-2), encode RNA-binding ...


Caenorhabditis Elegans Alg-1 Antimorphic Mutations Uncover Functions For Argonaute In Microrna Guide Strand Selection And Passenger Strand Disposal, Anna Y. Zinovyeva, Isana Veksler-Lublinsky, Ajay A. Vashisht, James A. Wohlschlegel, Victor R. Ambros Oct 2015

Caenorhabditis Elegans Alg-1 Antimorphic Mutations Uncover Functions For Argonaute In Microrna Guide Strand Selection And Passenger Strand Disposal, Anna Y. Zinovyeva, Isana Veksler-Lublinsky, Ajay A. Vashisht, James A. Wohlschlegel, Victor R. Ambros

Victor R. Ambros

MicroRNAs are regulators of gene expression whose functions are critical for normal development and physiology. We have previously characterized mutations in a Caenorhabditis elegans microRNA-specific Argonaute ALG-1 (Argonaute-like gene) that are antimorphic [alg-1(anti)]. alg-1(anti) mutants have dramatically stronger microRNA-related phenotypes than animals with a complete loss of ALG-1. ALG-1(anti) miRISC (microRNA induced silencing complex) fails to undergo a functional transition from microRNA processing to target repression. To better understand this transition, we characterized the small RNA and protein populations associated with ALG-1(anti) complexes in vivo. We extensively characterized proteins associated with wild-type and mutant ALG-1 and ...


Developmental Decline In Neuronal Regeneration By The Progressive Change Of Two Intrinsic Timers, Yan Zou, Hui Chiu, Anna Zinovyeva, Victor Ambros, Chiou-Fen Chuang, Chieh Chang Oct 2015

Developmental Decline In Neuronal Regeneration By The Progressive Change Of Two Intrinsic Timers, Yan Zou, Hui Chiu, Anna Zinovyeva, Victor Ambros, Chiou-Fen Chuang, Chieh Chang

Victor R. Ambros

Like mammalian neurons, Caenorhabditis elegans neurons lose axon regeneration ability as they age, but it is not known why. Here, we report that let-7 contributes to a developmental decline in anterior ventral microtubule (AVM) axon regeneration. In older AVM axons, let-7 inhibits regeneration by down-regulating LIN-41, an important AVM axon regeneration-promoting factor. Whereas let-7 inhibits lin-41 expression in older neurons through the lin-41 3' untranslated region, lin-41 inhibits let-7 expression in younger neurons through Argonaute ALG-1. This reciprocal inhibition ensures that axon regeneration is inhibited only in older neurons. These findings show that a let-7-lin-41 regulatory circuit, which was previously ...


The Evolution Of Our Thinking About Micrornas, Victor Ambros Oct 2015

The Evolution Of Our Thinking About Micrornas, Victor Ambros

Victor R. Ambros

Our appreciation of the significance of microRNAs to biology at large continues to be an evolving process.


Mutations In Conserved Residues Of The C. Elegans Microrna Argonaute Alg-1 Identify Separable Functions In Alg-1 Mirisc Loading And Target Repression, Anna Y. Zinovyeva, Samir Bouasker, Martin J. Simard, Christopher M. Hammell, Victor R. Ambros Oct 2015

Mutations In Conserved Residues Of The C. Elegans Microrna Argonaute Alg-1 Identify Separable Functions In Alg-1 Mirisc Loading And Target Repression, Anna Y. Zinovyeva, Samir Bouasker, Martin J. Simard, Christopher M. Hammell, Victor R. Ambros

Victor R. Ambros

microRNAs function in diverse developmental and physiological processes by regulating target gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. ALG-1 is one of two Caenorhabditis elegans Argonautes (ALG-1 and ALG-2) that together are essential for microRNA biogenesis and function. Here, we report the identification of novel antimorphic (anti) alleles of ALG-1 as suppressors of lin-28(lf) precocious developmental phenotypes. The alg-1(anti) mutations broadly impair the function of many microRNAs and cause dosage-dependent phenotypes that are more severe than the complete loss of ALG-1. ALG-1(anti) mutant proteins are competent for promoting Dicer cleavage of microRNA precursors and for associating with and ...


Micrornas And Developmental Timing, Victor Ambros Oct 2015

Micrornas And Developmental Timing, Victor Ambros

Victor R. Ambros

MicroRNAs regulate temporal transitions in gene expression associated with cell fate progression and differentiation throughout animal development. Genetic analysis of developmental timing in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans identified two evolutionarily conserved microRNAs, lin-4/mir-125 and let-7, that regulate cell fate progression and differentiation in C. elegans cell lineages. MicroRNAs perform analogous developmental timing functions in other animals, including mammals. By regulating cell fate choices and transitions between pluripotency and differentiation, microRNAs help to orchestrate developmental events throughout the developing animal, and to play tissue homeostasis roles important for disease, including cancer.


Dauer Larva Quiescence Alters The Circuitry Of Microrna Pathways Regulating Cell Fate Progression In C. Elegans, Xantha Karp, Victor Ambros Oct 2015

Dauer Larva Quiescence Alters The Circuitry Of Microrna Pathways Regulating Cell Fate Progression In C. Elegans, Xantha Karp, Victor Ambros

Victor R. Ambros

In C. elegans larvae, the execution of stage-specific developmental events is controlled by heterochronic genes, which include those encoding a set of transcription factors and the microRNAs that regulate the timing of their expression. Under adverse environmental conditions, developing larvae enter a stress-resistant, quiescent stage called 'dauer'. Dauer larvae are characterized by the arrest of all progenitor cell lineages at a stage equivalent to the end of the second larval stage (L2). If dauer larvae encounter conditions favorable for resumption of reproductive growth, they recover and complete development normally, indicating that post-dauer larvae possess mechanisms to accommodate an indefinite period ...


Drosophila Let-7 Microrna Is Required For Remodeling Of The Neuromusculature During Metamorphosis, Nicholas S. Sokol, Peizhang Xu, Yuh-Nung Jan, Victor R. Ambros Oct 2015

Drosophila Let-7 Microrna Is Required For Remodeling Of The Neuromusculature During Metamorphosis, Nicholas S. Sokol, Peizhang Xu, Yuh-Nung Jan, Victor R. Ambros

Victor R. Ambros

The Drosophila let-7-Complex (let-7-C) is a polycistronic locus encoding three ancient microRNAs: let-7, miR-100, and fly lin-4 (miR-125). We find that the let-7-C locus is principally expressed in the pupal and adult neuromusculature. let-7-C knockout flies appear normal externally but display defects in adult behaviors (e.g., flight, motility, and fertility) as well as clear juvenile features in their neuromusculature. We find that the function of let-7-C to ensure the appropriate remodeling of the abdominal neuromusculature during the larval-to-adult transition is carried out predominantly by let-7 alone. This heterochronic role of let-7 is likely just one of the ways in ...


Effect Of Life History On Microrna Expression During C. Elegans Development, Xantha Karp, Molly Hammell, Maria C. Ow, Victor R. Ambros Oct 2015

Effect Of Life History On Microrna Expression During C. Elegans Development, Xantha Karp, Molly Hammell, Maria C. Ow, Victor R. Ambros

Victor R. Ambros

Animals have evolved mechanisms to ensure the robustness of developmental outcomes to changing environments. MicroRNA expression may contribute to developmental robustness because microRNAs are key post-transcriptional regulators of developmental gene expression and can affect the expression of multiple target genes. Caenorhabditis elegans provides an excellent model to study developmental responses to environmental conditions. In favorable environments, C. elegans larvae develop rapidly and continuously through four larval stages. In contrast, in unfavorable conditions, larval development may be interrupted at either of two diapause stages: The L1 diapause occurs when embryos hatch in the absence of food, and the dauer diapause occurs ...


Micrornas: Genetically Sensitized Worms Reveal New Secrets, Victor Ambros Oct 2015

Micrornas: Genetically Sensitized Worms Reveal New Secrets, Victor Ambros

Victor R. Ambros

Why do many microRNA gene mutants display no evident phenotype? Multiply mutant worms that are selectively impaired in genetic regulatory network activities have been used to uncover previously unknown functions for numerous Caenorhabditis elegans microRNAs.


Mutations In Conserved Residues Of The C. Elegans Microrna Argonaute Alg-1 Identify Separable Functions In Alg-1 Mirisc Loading And Target Repression, Anna Y. Zinovyeva, Samir Bouasker, Martin J. Simard, Christopher M. Hammell, Victor R. Ambros Apr 2014

Mutations In Conserved Residues Of The C. Elegans Microrna Argonaute Alg-1 Identify Separable Functions In Alg-1 Mirisc Loading And Target Repression, Anna Y. Zinovyeva, Samir Bouasker, Martin J. Simard, Christopher M. Hammell, Victor R. Ambros

Program in Molecular Medicine Publications and Presentations

microRNAs function in diverse developmental and physiological processes by regulating target gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. ALG-1 is one of two Caenorhabditis elegans Argonautes (ALG-1 and ALG-2) that together are essential for microRNA biogenesis and function. Here, we report the identification of novel antimorphic (anti) alleles of ALG-1 as suppressors of lin-28(lf) precocious developmental phenotypes. The alg-1(anti) mutations broadly impair the function of many microRNAs and cause dosage-dependent phenotypes that are more severe than the complete loss of ALG-1. ALG-1(anti) mutant proteins are competent for promoting Dicer cleavage of microRNA precursors and for associating with and ...


A Feedback Circuit Involving Let-7-Family Mirnas And Daf-12 Integrates Environmental Signals And Developmental Timing In Caenorhabditis Elegans, Christopher M. Hammell, Xantha Karp, Victor R. Ambros Nov 2009

A Feedback Circuit Involving Let-7-Family Mirnas And Daf-12 Integrates Environmental Signals And Developmental Timing In Caenorhabditis Elegans, Christopher M. Hammell, Xantha Karp, Victor R. Ambros

Victor R. Ambros

Animal development is remarkably robust; cell fates are specified with spatial and temporal precision despite physiological and environmental contingencies. Favorable conditions cause Caenorhabditis elegans to develop rapidly through four larval stages (L1-L4) to the reproductive adult. In unfavorable conditions, L2 larvae can enter the developmentally quiescent, stress-resistant dauer larva stage, enabling them to survive for prolonged periods before completing development. A specific progression of cell division and differentiation events occurs with fidelity during the larval stages, regardless of whether an animal undergoes continuous or dauer-interrupted development. The temporal patterning of developmental events is controlled by the heterochronic genes, whose products ...