Remodeling of the Caenorhabditis elegans non-coding RNA transcriptome by heat shock

William P Schreiner, Delaney C Pagliuso, Jacob M Garrigues, Jerry S Chen, Antti P Aalto, Amy E Pasquinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Elevated temperatures activate a heat shock response (HSR) to protect cells from the pathological effects of protein mis-folding, cellular mis-organization, organelle dysfunction and altered membrane fluidity. This response includes activation of the conserved transcription factor heat shock factor 1 (HSF-1), which binds heat shock elements (HSEs) in the promoters of genes induced by heat shock (HS). The upregulation of protein-coding genes (PCGs), such as heat shock proteins and cytoskeletal regulators, is critical for cellular survival during elevated temperatures. While the transcriptional response of PCGs to HS has been comprehensively analyzed in a variety of organisms, the effect of this stress on the expression of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) has not been systematically examined. Here we show that in Caenorhabditis elegans HS induces up- and downregulation of specific ncRNAs from multiple classes, including miRNA, piRNA, lincRNA, pseudogene and repeat elements. Moreover, some ncRNA genes appear to be direct targets of the HSR, as they contain HSF-1 bound HSEs in their promoters and their expression is regulated by this factor during HS. These results demonstrate that multiple ncRNA genes respond to HS, some as direct HSF-1 targets, providing new candidates that may contribute to organismal survival during this stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9829-9841
Number of pages13
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans/genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins/genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins/genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation/genetics
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors/chemistry
  • Heat-Shock Response/genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Untranslated/genetics
  • Transcriptional Activation/genetics
  • Transcriptome/genetics


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