An epigenetic role for maternally inherited piRNAs in transposon silencing.

Watson School of Biological Sciences, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), 1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 12/2008; 322(5906):1387-92. DOI: 10.1126/science.1165171
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In plants and mammals, small RNAs indirectly mediate epigenetic inheritance by specifying cytosine methylation. We found that small RNAs themselves serve as vectors for epigenetic information. Crosses between Drosophila strains that differ in the presence of a particular transposon can produce sterile progeny, a phenomenon called hybrid dysgenesis. This phenotype manifests itself only if the transposon is paternally inherited, suggesting maternal transmission of a factor that maintains fertility. In both P- and I-element-mediated hybrid dysgenesis models, daughters show a markedly different content of Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) targeting each element, depending on their parents of origin. Such differences persist from fertilization through adulthood. This indicates that maternally deposited piRNAs are important for mounting an effective silencing response and that a lack of maternal piRNA inheritance underlies hybrid dysgenesis.

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    ABSTRACT: RNA-mediated silencing was first described in plants and became famous by studies in Caenorhabditis elegans. RNA interference (RNAi) is the mechanism through which an RNA interferes with the production of other RNAs in a sequence specific manner. MiRNAs are a type of RNA which originate from the genome with their active form being ss-RNAs of 21-23 nucleotides in length. They are being transcribed as pri-miRNAs then processed in the nucleus by Drosha to pre-miRNAs with a stem-loop structure and ~70 nucleotides in length. This stem-loop containing pre-miRNAs is then processed in the cytoplasm to ds-RNA one strand of which will serve as interfering RNA. Toxoplasma gondii is a species of parasitic protozoa which causes several diseases. T.gondii emerges as a good candidate for computational efforts with its small genome size, publicly available genome files and extensive information about its gene structure, either based on experimental data or the prediction with several gene finders in parallel. Therefore, it seems important to establish the regulatory network composed of RNAi which may be beneficial for the Toxoplasma community. Within this context the pool of possible stem-loop constitutive transcripts are produced, further analysis of this pool for desired 2D structure is integrated and mapping of possible RNAi regulation to T.gondii’s genome is established. In connection with computational assessment and mapping, the derived information is provided as a database for quick lookup using a convenient web interface for experimental studies of RNAi regulation in Toxoplasma, thus reduce time and money costs in such studies.
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    ABSTRACT: Bread wheat (or common wheat, Triticum aestivum) is an allohexaploid (AABBDD, 2n=6x=42) that arose by hybridization between a cultivated tetraploid wheat T. turgidum (AABB, 2n=4x=28) and the wild goatgrass Aegilops tauschii (DD, 2n=2x=14). Polyploidization provided niches for rigorous genome modification at cytogenetic, genetic, and epigenetic levels, rendering a broader spread than its progenitors. This review summarizes the latest advances in understanding gene regulation mechanisms in newly synthesized allohexaploid wheat and possible correlation with polyploid growth vigor and adaptation. Cytogenetic studies reveal persistent association of whole chromosome aneuploidy with nascent allopolyploids, in contrast to the genetic stability in common wheat. Transcriptome analysis of the euploid wheat shows that small RNAs are driving forces for homoeo-allele expression regulation via genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. The ensuing non-additively expressed genes and those with expression level dominance to the respective progenitor may play distinct functions in growth vigor and adaptation in nascent allohexaploid wheat. Further genetic diploidization of allohexaploid wheat is not random. Regional asymmetrical gene distribution, rather than subgenome dominance, is observed in both synthetic and natural allohexaploid wheats. The combinatorial effects of diverged genomes, subsequent selection of specific gene categories, and subgenome-specific traits are essential for the successful establishment of common wheat. Copyright © 2015 The Author. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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    ABSTRACT: PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are a class of small RNAs that are 24-31 nucleotides in length. They associate with PIWI proteins, which constitute a germline-specific subclade of the Argonaute family, to form effector complexes known as piRNA-induced silencing complexes, which repress transposons via transcriptional or posttranscriptional mechanisms and maintain germline genome integrity. In addition to having a role in transposon silencing, piRNAs in diverse organisms function in the regulation of cellular genes. In some cases, piRNAs have shown transgenerational inheritance to pass on the memory of "self " and "nonself," suggesting a contribution to various cellular processes over generations. Many piRNA factors have been identified; however, both the molecular mechanisms leading to the production of mature piRNAs and the effector phases of gene silencing are still enigmatic. Here, we summarize the current state of our knowledge on the biogenesis of piRNA, its biological functions, and the underlying mechanisms. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Biochemistry Volume 84 is June 02, 2015. Please see for revised estimates.

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