Piwi and piRNAs Act Upstream of an Endogenous siRNA Pathway to Suppress Tc3 Transposon Mobility in the Caenorhabditis elegans Germline

Partha P. Das, Marloes P. Bagijn, Leonard D. Goldstein, Julie R. Woolford, Nicolas J. Lehrbach, Alexandra Sapetschnig, Heeran R. Buhecha, Michael J. Gilchrist, Kevin L. Howe, Rory Stark, Nik Matthews, Eugene Berezikov, René F. Ketting, Simon Tavaré, Eric A. Miska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

240 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Piwi proteins of the Argonaute superfamily are required for normal germline development in Drosophila, zebrafish, and mice and associate with 24-30 nucleotide RNAs termed piRNAs. We identify a class of 21 nucleotide RNAs, previously named 21U-RNAs, as the piRNAs of C. elegans. Piwi and piRNA expression is restricted to the male and female germline and independent of many proteins in other small-RNA pathways, including DCR-1. We show that Piwi is specifically required to silence Tc3, but not other Tc/mariner DNA transposons. Tc3 excision rates in the germline are increased at least 100-fold in piwi mutants as compared to wild-type. We find no evidence for a Ping-Pong model for piRNA amplification in C. elegans. Instead, we demonstrate that Piwi acts upstream of an endogenous siRNA pathway in Tc3 silencing. These data might suggest a link between piRNA and siRNA function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Cell
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • DEVBIO
  • RNA

Cite this

Das, P. P., Bagijn, M. P., Goldstein, L. D., Woolford, J. R., Lehrbach, N. J., Sapetschnig, A., Buhecha, H. R., Gilchrist, M. J., Howe, K. L., Stark, R., Matthews, N., Berezikov, E., Ketting, R. F., Tavaré, S., & Miska, E. A. (2008). Piwi and piRNAs Act Upstream of an Endogenous siRNA Pathway to Suppress Tc3 Transposon Mobility in the Caenorhabditis elegans Germline. Molecular Cell, 31(1), 79-90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2008.06.003