mut-16 and other mutator class genes modulate 22G and 26G siRNA pathways in Caenorhabditis elegans

Chi Zhang, Taiowa A. Montgomery, Harrison W. Gabel, Sylvia E.J. Fischer, Carolyn M. Phillips, Noah Fahlgren, Christopher M. Sullivan, James C. Carrington, Gary Ruvkun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Argonaute-associated siRNAs and Piwi-associated piRNAs have overlapping roles in silencing mobile genetic elements in animals. In Caenorhabditis elegans, mutator (mut) class genes mediate siRNA-guided repression of transposons as well as exogenous RNAi, but their roles in endogenous RNA silencing pathways are not well-understood. To characterize the endogenous small RNAs dependent on mut class genes, small RNA populations from a null allele of mut-16 as well as a regulatory mut-16(mg461) allele that disables only somatic RNAi were subjected to deep sequencing. Additionally, each of the mut class genes was tested for a requirement in 26G siRNA pathways. The results indicate that mut-16 is an essential factor in multiple endogenous germline and somatic siRNA pathways involving several distinct Argonautes and RNA-dependent RNA polymerases. The results also reveal essential roles for mut-2 and mut-7 in the ERGO-1 class 26G siRNA pathway and less critical roles for mut-8, mut-14, and mut-15.We show that transposons are hypersusceptible to mut-16-dependent silencing and identify a requirement for the siRNA machinery in piRNA biogenesis from Tc1 transposons. We also show that the somaspecific mut-16(mg461) mutant allele is present in multiple C. elegans laboratory strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1201-1208
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 25 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'mut-16 and other mutator class genes modulate 22G and 26G siRNA pathways in Caenorhabditis elegans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this