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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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Defects in the Piwi/piRNA pathway lead to transposon desilencing and immediate sterility in many organisms. We found that the C. elegans Piwi mutant prg-1 became sterile after growth for many generations. This phenotype did not occur for RNAi mutants with strong transposon-silencing defects and was separable from the role of PRG-1 in transgene silencing.(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)
Telomeres are composed of simple tandem DNA repeats that protect the ends of linear chromosomes from replicative erosion or inappropriate DNA damage response mechanisms. The mammalian Protection Of Telomeres (POT1) protein interacts with single-stranded telomeric DNA and can exert positive and negative effects on telomere length. Of four distinct POT1(More)
A dichotomy exists between germ and somatic cells in most organisms, such that somatic cell lineages proliferate for a single generation, whereas the germ cell lineage has the capacity to proliferate from one generation to the next, indefinitely. Several theories have been proposed to explain the unlimited replicative life span of germ cells, including the(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)