Germ Granules Allow Transmission of Small RNA-Based Parental Responses in the “Germ Plasm”

Itamar Lev*, Oded Rechavi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In the recent decade small RNA-based inheritance has been implicated in a variety of transmitted physiological responses to the environment. In Caenorhabditis elegans, heritable small RNAs rely on RNA-dependent RNA polymerases, RNA-processing machinery, chromatin modifiers, and argonauts for their biogenesis and gene-regulatory effects. Importantly, many of these factors reside in evolutionary conserved germ granules that are required for maintaining germ cell identity and gene expression. Recent literature demonstrated that transient disturbance to the stability of the germ granules leads to changes in the pools of heritable small RNAs and the physiology of the progeny. In this piece, we discuss the heritable consequences of transient destabilization of germ granules and elaborate on the various small RNA-related processes that act in the germ granules. We further propose that germ granules may serve as environment sensors that translate environmental changes to inheritable small RNA-based responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101831
Issue number12
StatePublished - 18 Dec 2020


FundersFunder number
Achelis Foundation0604916191
European Molecular Biology OrganizationALTF 1037-2019
Israel Science Foundation1339/17


    • Biological Sciences
    • Cell Biology
    • Molecular Biology


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