PLoS genetics

A Genetic Cascade of let-7-ncl-1-fib-1 Modulates Nucleolar Size and rRNA Pool in Caenorhabditis elegans.

PMID 26492166


Ribosome biogenesis takes place in the nucleolus, the size of which is often coordinated with cell growth and development. However, how metazoans control nucleolar size remains largely unknown. Caenorhabditis elegans provides a good model to address this question owing to distinct tissue distribution of nucleolar sizes and a mutant, ncl-1, which exhibits larger nucleoli than wild-type worms. Here, through a series of loss-of-function analyses, we report that the nucleolar size is regulated by a circuitry composed of microRNA let-7, translation repressor NCL-1, and a major nucleolar pre-rRNA processing protein FIB-1/fibrillarin. In cooperation with RNA binding proteins PUF and NOS, NCL-1 suppressed the translation of FIB-1/fibrillarin, while let-7 targeted the 3'UTR of ncl-1 and inhibited its expression. Consequently, the abundance of FIB-1 is tightly controlled and correlated with the nucleolar size. Together, our findings highlight a novel genetic cascade by which post-transcriptional regulators interplay in developmental control of nucleolar size and function.