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Mercredi 7 Février 2018
De 15h à 16h
Centre de Recherche - Paris - Amphithéâtre Hélène Martel-Massignac

What flies can and can’t teach us about piRNAs

In animals, PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) serve as guides for the PIWI clade of Argonaute proteins, an evolutionary conserved family of RNA-binding proteins at the heart of eukaryotic gene silencing pathways. Flies teach us that piRNAs protect the germline from transposons and repetitive sequences, ensuring genomic stability during the production of gametes. Transposon silencing appears to be the ancestral function of piRNAs, and transposon-derived piRNAs are found in either the female or male germ cells of arthropods and mammals. While many, perhaps most, steps in the piRNA pathway are conserved among metazoa, the peculiarities of the Dipteran suborder, Brachycera, make flies unrepresentative of the diversity of functions of piRNAs in other arthropods. Moreover, in the mammalian testis, piRNAs play a critical role in coordinating the expression of large numbers of mRNAs essential for the production of functional sperm. This mammalian-specific “pachytene” piRNA pathway plays little if any role in repressing transposons. Thus, just as the ancient RNAi pathway gave rise to the gene-regulating miRNA pathway, so too the ancestral transposon-silencing piRNA pathway spawned a new class of gene-regulating small RNAs, the mammalian pachytene piRNAs.

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M. Phillip Zamore

RNA Therapeutics Institute, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and  Howard Hughes Medical Institute

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Institut Curie


Emma Kaufmann

Assistante d'unité

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