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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)
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)
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)
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)
Human lifespan is limited by aging of both mitotic and post-mitotic cells. These two forms of aging may occur by distinct or overlapping mechanisms. Telomere erosion has been shown to limit the proliferative lifespan of human somatic cells. Other vertebrates, such as mice, possess robust telomerase activity in most cell types and their somatic cells display(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)
End-to-end chromosome fusions that occur in the context of telomerase deficiency can trigger genomic duplications. For more than 70 years, these duplications have been attributed solely to breakage-fusion-bridge cycles. To test this hypothesis, we examined end-to-end fusions isolated from Caenorhabditis elegans telomere replication mutants. Genome-level(More)