Identification and characterization of two novel classes of small RNAs in the mouse germline: retrotransposon-derived siRNAs in oocytes and germline small RNAs in testes.
ABSTRACT Small RNAs ranging in size between 18 and 30 nucleotides (nt) are found in many organisms including yeasts, plants, and animals. Small RNAs are involved in the regulation of gene expression through translational repression, mRNA degradation, and chromatin modification. In mammals, microRNAs (miRNAs) are the only small RNAs that have been well characterized. Here, we have identified two novel classes of small RNAs in the mouse germline. One class consists of approximately 20- to 24-nt small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) from mouse oocytes, which are derived from retroelements including LINE, SINE, and LTR retrotransposons. Addition of retrotransposon-derived sequences to the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of a reporter mRNA destabilizes the mRNA significantly when injected into full-grown oocytes. These results suggest that retrotransposons are suppressed through the RNAi pathway in mouse oocytes. The other novel class of small RNAs is 26- to 30-nt germline small RNAs (gsRNAs) from testes. gsRNAs are expressed during spermatogenesis in a developmentally regulated manner, are mapped to the genome in clusters, and have strong strand bias. These features are reminiscent of Tetrahymena approximately 23- to 24-nt small RNAs and Caenorhabditis elegans X-cluster small RNAs. A conserved novel small RNA pathway may be present in diverse animals.
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ABSTRACT: PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are a large family of small, single-stranded, non-coding RNAs present throughout the animal kingdom. They form complexes with several members of the PIWI clade of Argonaute proteins and carry out regulatory functions. Their best established biological role is the inhibition of transposon mobilization, which they enforce both at the transcriptional level, through regulation of heterochromatin formation, and by promoting transcript degradation. In this capacity, piRNAs and PIWI proteins are at the heart of the germline cells’ efforts to preserve genome integrity. Additional regulatory roles of piRNAs and PIWI proteins in gene expression are becoming increasingly apparent. PIWI proteins and piRNAs are often detected in human cancers deriving from germline cells as well as somatic tissues. Their detection in cancer correlates with poorer clinical outcomes, suggesting that they play a functional role in the biology of cancer. Nonetheless, the currently available information, while highly suggestive, is still not sufficient to entirely discriminate between a ‘passenger’ role for the ectopic expression of piRNAs and PIWI proteins in cancer from a ‘driver’ role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. In this article, we review some of the key available evidence for the role of piRNAs and PIWI in human cancer and discuss ways in which our understanding of their functions may be improved.Journal of Hematology & Oncology 04/2015; 8(1):38. DOI:10.1186/s13045-015-0133-5 · 4.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The oocyte is a central regulator of multiple aspects of female fertility, including ovarian follicular development and early embryogenesis. During its prolonged diplotene arrest, the oocyte is subjected to endogenous (i.e., reactive oxygen species from metabolism) and exogenous (i.e., heat stress, malnutrition) sources of damage-inducing factors, which may lead to a progressive deterioration of oocyte quality. A deficit in oocyte competence can lead not only to a failure of fertilization but also to a lower developmental rate after fertilization. Thus, an appropriate environment for growth and maturation of the oocyte, in vivo and in vitro, is critical to ensure optimal oocyte quality. The objectives of the current review are to give an overview of some maternal key factors that influence oocyte quality in cattle and describe some of the findings to date in the hope of obtaining competent oocytes that could be used for clinical and applied purposes. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.Animal Reproduction Science 01/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.anireprosci.2015.01.011 · 1.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Next-generation sequencing now for the first time allows researchers to gage the depth and variation of entire transcriptomes. However, now as rare transcripts can be detected that are present in cells at single copies, more advanced computational tools are needed to accurately annotate and profile them. microRNAs (miRNAs) are 22 nucleotide small RNAs (sRNAs) that post-transcriptionally reduce the output of protein coding genes. They have established roles in numerous biological processes, including cancers and other diseases. During miRNA biogenesis, the sRNAs are sequentially cleaved from precursor molecules that have a characteristic hairpin RNA structure. The vast majority of new miRNA genes that are discovered are mined from small RNA sequencing (sRNA-seq), which can detect more than a billion RNAs in a single run. However, given that many of the detected RNAs are degradation products from all types of transcripts, the accurate identification of miRNAs remain a non-trivial computational problem. Here, we review the tools available to predict animal miRNAs from sRNA sequencing data. We present tools for generalist and specialist use cases, including prediction from massively pooled data or in species without reference genome. We also present wet-lab methods used to validate predicted miRNAs, and approaches to computationally benchmark prediction accuracy. For each tool, we reference validation experiments and benchmarking efforts. Last, we discuss the future of the field.Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 01/2015; 3:7. DOI:10.3389/fbioe.2015.00007