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To maintain genomic stability following DNA damage, multicellular organisms activate checkpoints that induce cell cycle arrest or apoptosis. Here we show that genotoxic stress blocks cell proliferation and induces apoptosis of germ cells in the nematode C. elegans. Accumulation of recombination intermediates similarly leads to the demise of affected cells.(More)
Transgenerational effects have wide-ranging implications for human health, biological adaptation, and evolution; however, their mechanisms and biology remain poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that a germline nuclear small RNA/chromatin pathway can maintain stable inheritance for many generations when triggered by a piRNA-dependent foreign RNA response(More)
The germ line is an immortal cell lineage that is passed indefinitely from one generation to the next. To identify the genes that are required for germline immortality, we isolated Caenorhabditis elegans mutants with mortal germ lines--worms that can reproduce for several healthy generations but eventually become sterile. One of these mortal germline (mrt)(More)
Homologous recombination and nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) are important DNA double-strand break repair pathways in many organisms. C. elegans strains harboring mutations in the cku-70, cku-80, or lig-4 NHEJ genes displayed multiple developmental abnormalities in response to radiation-induced DNA damage in noncycling somatic cells. These phenotypes did(More)
Zinc metalloproteases of the BMP-1/TOLLOID family (also known as astacins) are extracellular enzymes involved in important developmental processes in metazoans. We report the characterization of the Caenorhabditis elegans gene dpy-31, which encodes the first essential astacin metalloprotease identified in this organism. Loss-of-function mutations in dpy-31(More)
DNA damage response proteins identify sites of DNA damage and signal to downstream effectors that orchestrate either apoptosis or arrest of the cell cycle and DNA repair. The C. elegans DNA damage response mutants mrt-2, hus-1, and clk-2(mn159) displayed 8- to 15-fold increases in the frequency of spontaneous mutation in their germlines. Many of these(More)
Caenorhabditis elegans SIR-2.1, a member of the sirtuin family related to Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sir2p, has previously been implicated in aging. The mammalian homolog SIRT1 plays important roles in multiple cellular processes including transcriptional repression and stress response. We show that sir-2.1 is essential for the execution of apoptosis in(More)
BACKGROUND In response to genotoxic stress, cells activate checkpoint pathways that lead to a transient cell cycle arrest that allows for DNA repair or to apoptosis, which triggers the demise of genetically damaged cells. RESULTS During positional cloning of the C. elegans rad-5 DNA damage checkpoint gene, we found, surprisingly, that rad-5(mn159) is(More)
DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) can be repaired by homologous recombination (HR), which can involve Holliday junction (HJ) intermediates that are ultimately resolved by nucleolytic enzymes. An N-terminal fragment of human GEN1 has recently been shown to act as a Holliday junction resolvase, but little is known about the role of GEN-1 in vivo. Holliday(More)
Mutants of trt-1, the Caenorhabditis elegans telomerase reverse transcriptase, reproduce normally for several generations but eventually become sterile as a consequence of telomere erosion and end-to-end chromosome fusions. Telomere erosion and uncapping do not cause an increase in apoptosis in the germlines of trt-1 mutants. Instead, late-generation trt-1(More)