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microRNAs play critical roles in the survival and recovery of Caenorhabditis elegans from starvation-induced L1 diapause.

Environmental stresses and nutrition availability critically affect animal development. Numerous animal species across multiple phyla enter developmental arrest for long-term survival in unfavorable environments and resume development upon stress removal. Here we show that compromising overall microRNA (miRNA) functions or mutating certain individual miRNAs impairs the long-term survival of nematodes during starvation-induced L1 diapause. We provide evidence that miRNA miR-71 is not required for the animals' entry into L1 diapause, but plays a critical role in long-term survival by repressing the expression of insulin receptor/PI3K pathway genes and genes acting downstream or in parallel to the pathway. Furthermore, miR-71 plays a prominent role in developmental recovery from L1 diapause partly through repressing the expression of certain heterochronic genes. The presented results indicate that interactions between multiple miRNAs and likely a large number of their mRNA targets in multiple pathways regulate the response to starvation-induced L1 diapause.

Pubmed ID: 22011579

Authors

  • Zhang X
  • Zabinsky R
  • Teng Y
  • Cui M
  • Han M

Journal

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Publication Data

November 1, 2011

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: GM47869
  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: P30 CA046934
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: R01 GM047869
  • Agency: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Id:

Mesh Terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Cell Division
  • MicroRNAs
  • Mutation
  • Starvation