Intermittent fasting (IF), a dietary restriction regimen, extends the lifespans of C. elegans and mammals by inducing gene expression changes. How fasting induces gene expression changes and longevity remains unclear. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs (approximately 22 nucleotides) that repress gene expression, and the expression of several miRNAs has been reported to be altered by fasting. In this study, we examined the role of the miRNA machinery in fasting-induced transcriptional changes and longevity in C. elegans. Our miRNA array analyses revealed that the expression levels of numerous miRNAs changed in adult worms after 48 hours of fasting. In addition to these changes, miRNA-mediated silencing complex (miRISC) components, including Argonaute proteins and GW182 proteins, and the miRNA-processing enzyme Drosha/DRSH-1, were up-regulated by fasting. Our lifespan measurements demonstrated that IF-induced longevity was suppressed by knockout or knockdown of miRISC components and was completely inhibited by drsh-1
ablation. Remarkably, drsh-1
ablation inhibited the fasting-induced changes in the expression of the target genes of DAF-16, the insulin/IGF-1 signaling effector. Fasting-induced transcriptome alterations were substantially and modestly suppressed in the drsh-1
null mutant and the null mutant of ain-1
, a gene encoding GW182, respectively. These results indicate that components of the miRNA machinery, especially the miRNA-processing enzyme Drosha, play an important role in mediating IF-induced longevity via the regulation of fasting-induced gene expression changes. To examine the fasting-induced changes in miRNA expression in adult worms, we performed miRNA array experiments.