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Expression profiling and cross-species RNA interference (RNAi) of desiccation-induced transcripts in the anhydrobiotic nematode Aphelenchus avenae

Reardon, Wesley and Chakrabortee, Sohini and Pereira, Tiago Campos and Tyson, Trevor and Banton, Matthew C. and Dolan, Katharine M. and Culleton, Bridget A. and Wise, Michael J. and Burnell, Ann M. and Tunnacliffe, Alan (2010) Expression profiling and cross-species RNA interference (RNAi) of desiccation-induced transcripts in the anhydrobiotic nematode Aphelenchus avenae. BMC Molecular Biology, 11 (6). ISSN 1471-2199

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Abstract

Background: Some organisms can survive extreme desiccation by entering a state of suspended animation known as anhydrobiosis. The free-living mycophagous nematode Aphelenchus avenae can be induced to enter anhydrobiosis by pre-exposure to moderate reductions in relative humidity (RH) prior to extreme desiccation. This preconditioning phase is thought to allow modification of the transcriptome by activation of genes required for desiccation tolerance. Results: To identify such genes, a panel of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) enriched for sequences upregulated in A. avenae during preconditioning was created. A subset of 30 genes with significant matches in databases, together with a number of apparently novel sequences, were chosen for further study. Several of the recognisable genes are associated with water stress, encoding, for example, two new hydrophilic proteins related to the late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) protein family. Expression studies confirmed EST panel members to be upregulated by evaporative water loss, and the majority of genes was also induced by osmotic stress and cold, but rather fewer by heat. We attempted to use RNA interference (RNAi) to demonstrate the importance of this gene set for anhydrobiosis, but found A. avenae to be recalcitrant with the techniques used. Instead, therefore, we developed a cross-species RNAi procedure using A. avenae sequences in another anhydrobiotic nematode, Panagrolaimus superbus, which is amenable to gene silencing. Of 20 A. avenae ESTs screened, a significant reduction in survival of desiccation in treated P. superbus populations was observed with two sequences, one of which was novel, while the other encoded a glutathione peroxidase. To confirm a role for glutathione peroxidases in anhydrobiosis, RNAi with cognate sequences from P. superbus was performed and was also shown to reduce desiccation tolerance in this species. Conclusions: This study has identified and characterised the expression profiles of members of the anhydrobiotic gene set in A. avenae. It also demonstrates the potential of RNAi for the analysis of anhydrobiosis and provides the first genetic data to underline the importance of effective antioxidant systems in metazoan desiccation tolerance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: We would like to thank Chiara Boschetti for her help with confocal microscopy. The support of the Leverhulme Trust (grants F/09 717/A and F/ 09 717/B) and Science Foundation Ireland (02/IN/B032) is gratefully acknowledged. MCB was funded by a BBSRC CASE studentship (BBS/S/L/ 2004/11164). BAC was funded by an Irish Research Council for Science Technology and Engineering EMBARK post graduate fellowship. TCP was in receipt of a fellowship from the CAPES Funding Agency of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Brazil. © 2010 Reardon et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Expression profiling; cross-species RNA interference; RNA; desiccation-induced transcripts; anhydrobiotic nematode; Aphelenchus avenae;
Subjects: Science & Engineering > Biology
Item ID: 2644
Identification Number: 10.1186/1471-2199-11-6
Depositing User: Prof. Ann Burnell
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2011 09:23
Journal or Publication Title: BMC Molecular Biology
Refereed: Yes
URI:

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