Article: Poreless eggshells[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The oocyte is the sole source of the female genetic material that will be fertilized by sperm to form an embryo. Many extrinsic and intrinsic factors are critical for oocyte development and survival; however, these mediators are incompletely understood. In this issue of the JCI, Weinberg-Shukron et al. uncover a novel recessive missense mutation in the gene encoding nucleoporin-107 (NUP107) that results in abnormal ovarian development. Recapitulation of the human mutation in the Drosophila NUP107 ortholog resulted in poor follicular development and demonstrated an evolutionarily conserved and ovary-specific role of NUP107. While NUP107 is required for nuclear pore complex function in somatic cells of flies and women, this specific amino acid change appears only to be disruptive in the ovary. All together, these findings imply that missense mutations in other genes could be specifically disruptive of ovarian or testicular function, while leaving extragonadal function intact.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maintaining genomic integrity during DNA replication is essential for stem cells. DNA replication origins are licensed by the MCM2-7 complexes, with most of them remaining dormant. Dormant origins (DOs) rescue replication fork stalling in S phase and ensure genome integrity. However, it is not known whether DOs exist and play important roles in any stem cell type. Here, we show that embryonic stem cells (ESCs) contain more DOs than tissue stem/progenitor cells such as neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs). Partial depletion of DOs does not affect ESC self-renewal but impairs their differentiation, including toward the neural lineage. However, reduction of DOs in NSPCs impairs their self-renewal due to accumulation of DNA damage and apoptosis. Furthermore, mice with reduced DOs show abnormal neurogenesis and semi-embryonic lethality. Our results reveal that ESCs are equipped with more DOs to better protect against replicative stress than tissue-specific stem/progenitor cells. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Piwi-piRNA pathway is well known for its germline function, yet its somatic role remains elusive. We show here that Piwi is required autonomously not only for germline stem cell (GSC) but also for somatic cyst stem cell (CySC) maintenance in the Drosophila testis. Reducing Piwi activity in the testis caused defects in CySC differentiation. Accompanying this, GSC daughters expanded beyond the vicinity of the hub but failed to differentiate further. Moreover, Piwi deficient in nuclear localization caused similar defects in somatic and germ cell differentiation, which was rescued by somatic Piwi expression. To explore the underlying molecular mechanism, we identified Piwi-bound piRNAs that uniquely map to a gene key for gonadal development, Fasciclin 3, and demonstrate that Piwi regulates its expression in somatic cyst cells. Our work reveals the cell-autonomous function of Piwi in both somatic and germline stem cell types, with somatic function possibly via its epigenetic mechanism. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drosophila Piwi was reported by Huang et al. (2013) to be guided by piRNAs to piRNA-complementary sites in the genome, which then recruits heterochromatin protein 1a and histone methyltransferase Su(Var)3-9 to the sites. Among additional findings, Huang et al. (2013) also reported Piwi binding sites in the genome and the reduction of RNA polymerase II in euchromatin but its increase in pericentric regions in piwi mutants. Marinov et al. (2015) disputed the validity of the Huang et al. bioinformatic pipeline that led to the last two claims. Here we report our independent reanalysis of the data using current bioinformatic methods. Our reanalysis agrees with Marinov et al. (2015) that Piwi's genomic targets still remain to be identified but confirms the Huang et al. claim that Piwi influences RNA polymerase II distribution in the genome. This Matters Arising Response addresses the Marinov et al. (2015) Matters Arising, published concurrently in this issue of Developmental Cell. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The eukaryotic genome has vast intergenic regions containing transposons, pseudogenes, and other repetitive sequences. They produce numerous long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), yet the functions of the vast intergenic regions remain largely unknown. Mammalian piRNAs are abundantly expressed in late spermatocytes and round spermatids, coinciding with the widespread expression of lncRNAs in these cells. Here, we show that piRNAs derived from transposons and pseudogenes mediate the degradation of a large number of mRNAs and lncRNAs in mouse late spermatocytes. In particular, they have a large impact on the lncRNA transcriptome, as a quarter of lncRNAs expressed in late spermatocytes are up-regulated in mice deficient in the piRNA pathway. Furthermore, our genomic and in vivo functional analyses reveal that retrotransposon sequences in the 3' UTR of mRNAs are targeted by piRNAs for degradation. Similarly, the degradation of spermatogenic cell-specific lncRNAs by piRNAs is mediated by retrotransposon sequences. Moreover, we show that pseudogenes regulate mRNA stability via the piRNA pathway. The degradation of mRNAs and lncRNAs by piRNAs requires PIWIL1 (also known as MIWI) and, at least in part, depends on its slicer activity. Together, these findings reveal the presence of a highly complex and global RNA regulatory network mediated by piRNAs with retrotransposons and pseudogenes as regulatory sequences. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Piwi proteins and Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are essential for gametogenesis, embryogenesis, and stem cell maintenance in animals. Piwi proteins act on transposon RNAs by cleaving the RNAs and by interacting with factors involved in RNA regulation. Additionally, piRNAs generated from transposons and psuedogenes can be used by Piwi proteins to regulate mRNAs at the posttranscriptional level. Here we discuss piRNA biogenesis, recent findings on posttranscriptional regulation of mRNAs by the piRNA pathway, and the potential importance of this posttranscriptional regulation for a variety of biological processes such as gametogenesis, developmental transitions, and sex determination.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PIWI proteins play essential and conserved roles in germline development, including germline stem cell maintenance and meiosis. Because germline regulators such as OCT4, NANOG, and SOX2 are known to be potent factors that reprogram differentiated somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), we investigated whether the PIWI protein family is involved in iPSC production. We find that all three mouse Piwi genes, Miwi, Mili, and Miwi2, are expressed in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) at higher levels than in fibroblasts, with Mili being the highest. However, mice lacking all three Piwi genes are viable and female fertile, and are only male sterile. Furthermore, embryonic fibroblasts derived from Miwi/Mili/Miwi2 triple knockout embryos can be efficiently reprogrammed into iPS cells. These iPS cells expressed pluripotency markers and were capable of differentiating into all three germ layers in teratoma assays. Genome-wide expression profiling reveals that the triple knockout iPS cells are very similar to littermate control iPS cells. These results indicate that PIWI proteins are dispensable for direct reprogramming of mouse fibroblasts.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As a member of the phylum Cnidaria, the sister group to all bilaterians, Hydra can shed light on fundamental biological processes shared among multicellular animals. Hydra is used as a model for the study of regeneration, pattern formation, and stem cells. However, research efforts have been hampered by lack of a reliable method for gene perturbations to study molecular function. The development of transgenic methods has revitalized the study of Hydra biology(1). Transgenic Hydra allow for the tracking of live cells, sorting to yield pure cell populations for biochemical analysis, manipulation of gene function by knockdown and over-expression, and analysis of promoter function. Plasmid DNA injected into early stage embryos randomly integrates into the genome early in development. This results in hatchlings that express transgenes in patches of tissue in one or more of the three lineages (ectodermal epithelial, endodermal epithelial, or interstitial). The success rate of obtaining a hatchling with transgenic tissue is between 10% and 20%. Asexual propagation of the transgenic hatchling is used to establish a uniformly transgenic line in a particular lineage. Generating transgenic Hydra is surprisingly simple and robust, and here we describe a protocol that can be easily implemented at low cost.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) have crucial roles in epigenetic, transcriptional, and post-transcriptional regulation. Recent studies have begun to reveal a role of ncRNAs in DNA replication. Here, we review the roles of ncRNAs in regulating different aspects of DNA replication in prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems. We speculate that ncRNAs might function to guide the origin recognition complex (ORC) to chromosomal DNA during replication initiation in higher eukaryotes.
Article: The ever-expanding RNA world
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are a complex class of small non-coding RNAs that are mostly 24–32 nucleotides in length and composed of at least hundreds of thousands of species that specifically interact with the PIWI protein subfamily of the ARGONAUTE family. Recent studies revealed that PIWI proteins interact with a number of proteins, especially the TUDOR-domain-containing proteins, to regulate piRNA biogenesis and regulatory function. Current research also provides evidence that PIWI proteins and piRNAs are not only crucial for transposon silencing in the germline, but also mediate novel mechanisms of epigenetic programming, DNA rearrangements, mRNA turnover, and translational control both in the germline and in the soma. These new discoveries begin to reveal an exciting new dimension of gene regulation in the cell.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The discovery of millions of PIWI-interacting RNAs revealed a fascinating and unanticipated dimension of biology. The PIWI-piRNA pathway has been commonly perceived as germline-specific, even though the somatic function of PIWI proteins was documented when they were first discovered. Recent studies have begun to re-explore this pathway in somatic cells in diverse organisms, particularly lower eukaryotes. These studies have illustrated the multifaceted somatic functions of the pathway not only in transposon silencing but also in genome rearrangement and epigenetic programming, with biological roles in stem-cell function, whole-body regeneration, memory and possibly cancer.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The generation of high-resolution maps of the epigenome is crucial to research in epigenetics, developmental biology, and stem cell biology. In recent years, small RNA pathways have been implicated in epigenetic regulation. All small RNA pathways involve Argonaute proteins as their key biogenesis and effector components. In this chapter, we describe a chromatin immunoprecipitation method for whole-genome mapping of Drosophila Piwi, the defining member of the Argonaute protein family. This method should have general utility for mapping other chromatin-associated factors.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PIWI proteins and their bound PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are found in animal germlines and are essential for fertility, but their functions outside of the gonad are not well understood. The cnidarian Hydra is a simple metazoan with well-characterized stem/progenitor cells that provides a unique model for analysis of PIWI function. Here we report that Hydra has two PIWI proteins, Hydra PIWI (Hywi) and Hydra PIWI-like (Hyli), both of which are expressed in all Hydra stem/progenitor cells, but not in terminally differentiated cells. We identified ∼15 million piRNAs associated with Hywi and/or Hyli and found that they exhibit the ping-pong signature of piRNA biogenesis. Hydra PIWI proteins are strictly cytoplasmic and thus likely act as posttranscriptional regulators. To explore this function, we generated a Hydra transcriptome for piRNA mapping. piRNAs map to transposons with a 25- to 35-fold enrichment compared with the abundance of transposon transcripts. By sequencing the small RNAs specific to the interstitial, ectodermal, and endodermal lineages, we found that the targeting of transposons appears to be largely restricted to the interstitial lineage. We also identified putative nontransposon targets of the pathway unique to each lineage. Finally we demonstrate that hywi function is essential in the somatic epithelial lineages. This comprehensive analysis of the PIWI-piRNA pathway in the somatic stem/progenitor cells of a nonbilaterian animal suggests that this pathway originated with broader stem cell functionality.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PIWI proteins, a subfamily of the ARGONAUTE/PIWI protein family, have been implicated in transcriptional and posttranscriptional gene regulation and transposon silencing mediated by small non-coding RNAs, especially piRNAs. Although these proteins are known to be required for germline development, their somatic function remains elusive. Here, we examine the maternal function of all three PIWI proteins in Drosophila; Piwi, Aubergine (Aub) and Argonaute3 (Ago3) during early embryogenesis. In syncytial embryos, Piwi displays an embryonic stage-dependent localization pattern. Piwi is localized in the cytoplasm during mitotic cycles 1-10. Between cycles 11 and 14, Piwi remains in the cytoplasm during mitosis but moves into the somatic nucleus during interphase. Beyond cycle 14, it stays in the nucleus. Aub and Ago3 are diffusely cytoplasmic from cycle 1-14. Embryos maternally depleted of any one of the three PIWI proteins display severe mitotic defects, including abnormal chromosome and nuclear morphology, cell cycle arrest, asynchronous nuclear division and aberrant nuclear migration. Furthermore, all three PIWI proteins are required for the assembly of mitotic machinery and progression through mitosis. Embryos depleted of maternal PIWI proteins also exhibit chromatin organization abnormalities. These observations indicate that maternal Piwi, Aub and Ago3 play a critical role in the maintenance of chromatin structure and cell cycle progression during early embryogenesis, with compromised chromatin integrity as a possible cause of the observed mitotic defects. Our study demonstrates the essential function of PIWI proteins in the first phase of somatic development.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histone modification is a vital epigenetic mechanism for transcriptional control in eukaryotes. High-throughput techniques have enabled whole-genome analysis of histone modifications in recent years. However, most studies assume one combination of histone modification invariantly translates to one transcriptional output regardless of local chromatin environment. In this study we hypothesize that, the genome is organized into local domains that manifest similar enrichment pattern of histone modification, which leads to orchestrated regulation of expression of genes with relevant biological functions. We propose a multivariate Bayesian Change Point (BCP) model to segment the Drosophila melanogaster genome into consecutive blocks on the basis of combinatorial patterns of histone marks. By modeling the sparse distribution of histone marks across the chromosome with a zero-inflated Gaussian mixture, our partitions capture local BLOCKs manifest relatively homogeneous enrichment pattern of histone modifications. We further characterized BLOCKs by their transcription levels, distribution of genes, binding profiles of a broad panel of chromatin proteins, degree of co-expression and GO enrichment. Our results demonstrate that these blocks, although inferred merely from histone modifications, reveal strong relevance with transcription events and chromatin organization, which suggest their important roles in coordinated gene regulation.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) must engage in a life-long balance between self-renewal and differentiation to sustain hematopoiesis. The highly conserved PIWI protein family regulates proliferative states of stem cells and their progeny in diverse organisms. A Human piwi gene (for clarity, the non-italicized "piwi" refers to the gene subfamily), HIWI (PIWIL1), is expressed in CD34(+) stem/progenitor cells and transient expression of HIWI in a human leukemia cell line drastically reduces cell proliferation, implying the potential function of these proteins in hematopoiesis. Here, we report that one of the three piwi genes in mice, Miwi2 (Piwil4), is expressed in primitive hematopoetic cell types within the bone marrow. Mice with a global deletion of all three piwi genes, Miwi, Mili, and Miwi2, are able to maintain long-term hematopoiesis with no observable effect on the homeostatic HSC compartment in adult mice. The PIWI-deficient hematopoetic cells are capable of normal lineage reconstitution after competitive transplantation. We further show that the three piwi genes are dispensable during hematopoietic recovery after myeloablative stress by 5-FU. Collectively, our data suggest that the function of the piwi gene subfamily is not required for normal adult hematopoiesis.
Dataset: Figure S1[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genotyping of transplanted bone marrow cells in recipient mice. FACS sorted CD45.2+ and CD45.2− bone marrow cells isolated from the hind limbs of representative transplant recipient mice, representing Piwi triple knockout and control donor cohorts, show expected genotypes for Miwi, Mili, and Miwi2 alleles, with wild-type and heterozygous expression in CD45.2+ cells from control donor mice (601 and 603) and knockout alleles for CD45.2+ cells from triple mutant donor mice (610 and 613). CD45.2− competitor cells and wild-type mouse tail DNA show expected wild-type alleles for all three genes. For isolation, nucleated bone marrow cells were incubated with CD45.2-FITC antibody and sorted on a LSRII (BD). Genomic DNA was then purified from CD45.2+ and CD45.2− cells and used for PCR. (TIF)
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Piwi proteins and Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) repress transposition, regulate translation, and guide epigenetic programming in the germline. Here, we show that an evolutionarily conserved Tudor and KH domain-containing protein, Tdrkh (a.k.a. Tdrd2), is required for spermatogenesis and involved in piRNA biogenesis. Tdrkh partners with Miwi and Miwi2 via symmetrically dimethylated arginine residues in Miwi and Miwi2. Tdrkh is a mitochondrial protein often juxtaposed to pi-bodies and piP-bodies and is required for Tdrd1 cytoplasmic localization and Miwi2 nuclear localization. Tdrkh mutants display meiotic arrest at the zygotene stage, attenuate methylation of Line1 DNA, and upregulate Line1 RNA and protein, without inducing apoptosis. Furthermore, Tdrkh mutants have severely reduced levels of mature piRNAs but accumulate a distinct population of 1'U-containing, 2'O-methylated 31-37 nt RNAs that largely complement the missing mature piRNAs. Our results demonstrate that the primary piRNA biogenesis pathway involves 3'→5' processing of 31-37 nt intermediates and that Tdrkh promotes this final step of piRNA biogenesis but not the ping-pong cycle. These results shed light on mechanisms underlying primary piRNA biogenesis, an area in which information is conspicuously absent.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Large intergenic noncoding (linc) RNAs constitute a new dimension of posttranscriptional gene regulation. In this issue of Developmental Cell, Wang et al. (2013) find that linc-RoR maintains human embryonic stem cell self-renewal by functioning as a sponge to trap miR-145, thus regulating core pluripotency factors Oct4, Nanog, and Sox2.