Developmental programming modulates olfactory behavior in C. elegans via endogenous RNAi pathways

Jennie R. Sims, Maria C. Ow, Mailyn A. Nishiguchi, Kyuhyung Kim, Piali Sengupta, Sarah E. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Environmental stress during early development can impact adult phenotypes via programmed changes in gene expression. C. elegans larvae respond to environmental stress by entering the stress-resistant dauer diapause pathway and resume development once conditions improve (postdauers). Here we show that the osm-9 TRPV channel gene is a target of developmental programming and is down-regulated specifically in the ADL chemosensory neurons of postdauer adults, resulting in a corresponding altered olfactory behavior that is mediated by ADL in an OSM-9-dependent manner. We identify a cis-acting motif bound by the DAF-3 SMAD and ZFP-1 (AF10) proteins that is necessary for the differential regulation of osm-9, and demonstrate that both chromatin remodeling and endo-siRNA pathways are major contributors to the transcriptional silencing of the osm-9 locus. This work describes an elegant mechanism by which developmental experience influences adult phenotypes by establishing and maintaining transcriptional changes via RNAi and chromatin remodeling pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere11642
Issue numberJUNE2016
StatePublished - Jun 28 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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