Piwi RNAs

Definition

Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are a large class of small non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), 26–31 nucleotides in length, that interact with piwi-domain-containing proteins. piRNAs function in the germline to silence genetic elements such as retrotransposons and in RNA silencing as components of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC).

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    The Piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathway is known to suppress transposable elements in gonadal tissues. Here the authors provide evidence for a functional piRNA pathway in the somatic cells of the Drosophila fat body with roles in metabolism, immunological function and overall health.

    • Brian C. Jones
    • , Jason G. Wood
    • , Chengyi Chang
    • , Austin D. Tam
    • , Michael J. Franklin
    • , Emily R. Siegel
    •  & Stephen L. Helfand
  • Research | | open

    In Drosophila ovarian follicle cells, piRNAs generated from RNA precursors are processed in cytoplasmic Yb-bodies. The authors identify the exportin and the exon junction complexes as required to transfer precursors to cytoplasm. They also show that Yb-body formation requires piRNA precursor export.

    • Cynthia Dennis
    • , Emilie Brasset
    • , Arpita Sarkar
    •  & Chantal Vaury
  • Research |

    Maternal mRNAs are tethered within the Drosophila germ plasm via base-pairing interactions between mRNAs and piRNPs containing the Aub Piwi protein; the preference for certain mRNAs to be tethered appears to be related to their longer length, which provides more potential piRNP-binding sites, and the results suggest a new role for piRNAs in germ-cell specification independent of their role in transposon silencing.

    • Anastassios Vourekas
    • , Panagiotis Alexiou
    • , Nicholas Vrettos
    • , Manolis Maragkakis
    •  & Zissimos Mourelatos
    Nature 531, 390–394
  • Research | | open

    PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) suppress transposon and gene expression during development. Here, the authors identify many piRNAs and piRNA-like small RNAs in 11 human cell lines, and show that one piRNA-like small RNA binds to phosphorylated ERM proteins to regulate cancer cell migration and invasion.

    • Yuping Mei
    • , Yuyan Wang
    • , Priti Kumari
    • , Amol Carl Shetty
    • , David Clark
    • , Tyler Gable
    • , Alexander D. MacKerell
    • , Mark Z. Ma
    • , David J. Weber
    • , Austin J. Yang
    • , Martin J. Edelman
    •  & Li Mao
  • Research |

    Zucchini has been identified as an endoribonuclease responsible for the maturation of small RNA molecules that protect the genome from the damaging effects of unrestrained expression of mobile elements.

    • Hiroshi Nishimasu
    • , Hirotsugu Ishizu
    • , Kuniaki Saito
    • , Satoshi Fukuhara
    • , Miharu K. Kamatani
    • , Luc Bonnefond
    • , Naoki Matsumoto
    • , Tomohiro Nishizawa
    • , Keita Nakanaga
    • , Junken Aoki
    • , Ryuichiro Ishitani
    • , Haruhiko Siomi
    • , Mikiko C. Siomi
    •  & Osamu Nureki
    Nature 491, 284–287

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