Intestinal mir-794 responds to nanopolystyrene by linking insulin and p38 MAPK signaling pathways in nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2020 Sep 15; 201:110857.EE
Caenorhabditis elegans is sensitive to toxicity of environmental pollutants. The alteration in expression of mir-794, a microRNA (miRNA) molecule, mediated a protective response to nanopolystyene (100 nm) at predicted environmental concentration (1 μg/L) in nematodes. However, the underlying molecular basis for mir-794 function in regulating the response to nanopolystyrene remains largely unclear. In this study, we found that intestinal overexpression of mir-794 caused the susceptibility to nanopolystyrene toxicity, suggesting that mir-794 acted in the intestine to regulate the response to nanopolystyrene. Intestinal overexpression of mir-794 further decreased the expressions of daf-16 encoding a FOXO transcriptional factor in insulin signaling pathway, skn-1 encoding a Nrf transcriptional factor in p38 MAPK signaling pathway, and mdt-15 encoding a lipid metabolic sensor acting downstream of SKN-1 in nanopolystyrene exposed nematodes. Meanwhile, intestinal overexpression of mir-794 could suppress the resistance of nematodes overexpressing intestinal daf-16, skn-1, or mdt-15 containing the corresponding 3' untranslated region (3' UTR) to nanopolystyrene toxicity. Therefore, DAF-16, SKN-1, and MDT-15 acted as the downstream targets of intestinal mir-794 to regulate the response to nanopolystyrene. In the intestine, DAF-16 functioned synergistically with SKN-1 or MDT-15 to regulate the response to nanopolystyrene. Our results suggested that the intestinal mir-794 provided an important epigenetic regulation mechanism to control the response to nanopolystyrene by linking insulin and p38 MAPK signaling pathways in nematodes.