Brief Communication | Published:

A MILI-independent piRNA biogenesis pathway empowers partial germline reprogramming

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology volume 24, pages 604606 (2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

In mice, the pathway involving PIWI and PIWI-interacting RNA (PIWI–piRNA) is essential to re-establish transposon silencing during male-germline reprogramming. The cytoplasmic PIWI protein MILI mediates piRNA-guided transposon RNA cleavage as well as piRNA amplification. MIWI2's binding to piRNA and its nuclear localization are proposed to be dependent upon MILI function. Here, we demonstrate the existence of a piRNA biogenesis pathway that sustains partial MIWI2 function and reprogramming activity in the absence of MILI.

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Acknowledgements

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC grant agreement no. GA 310206 awarded to D.O'C.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Monterotondo, Italy.

    • Lina Vasiliauskaitė
    • , Claudia Carrieri
    •  & Dónal O'Carroll
  2. MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

    • Lina Vasiliauskaitė
    • , Claudia Carrieri
    •  & Dónal O'Carroll
  3. European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK.

    • Dimitrios Vitsios
    •  & Anton J Enright
  4. Epigenetics Programme, Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK.

    • Rebecca V Berrens
    •  & Wolf Reik
  5. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK.

    • Wolf Reik

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Contributions

L.V. contributed to the design, execution and analysis of the majority of experiments. D.V. performed the bioinformatic piRNA analysis. R.V.B. generated the whole-genome bisulfite libraries and performed the bioinformatic analysis of genomic methylation. C.C. designed, generated and validated the Miwi2HA allele. A.J.E. and W.R. oversaw all bioinformatic analyses performed. D.O'C. conceived and supervised this study. L.V. and D.O'C. wrote the final version of the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dónal O'Carroll.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nsmb.3413

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