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RDC complex executes a dynamic piRNA program during Drosophila spermatogenesis to safeguard male fertility

Chen, Peiwei and Luo, Yicheng and Aravin, Alexei A. (2020) RDC complex executes a dynamic piRNA program during Drosophila spermatogenesis to safeguard male fertility. . (Unpublished)

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piRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that guide the silencing of transposons and other targets in animal gonads. In Drosophila female germline, many piRNA source loci dubbed "piRNA clusters" lack hallmarks of active genes and exploit an alternative path for transcription, which relies on the Rhino-Deadlock-Cutoff (RDC) complex. It remains to date unknown how piRNA cluster transcription is regulated in the male germline. We found that components of RDC complex are expressed in male germ cells during early spermatogenesis, from germline stem cells (GSCs) to early spermatocytes. RDC is essential for expression of dual-strand piRNA clusters and transposon silencing in testis; however, it is dispensable for expression of Y-linked Suppressor of Stellate piRNAs and therefore Stellate silencing. Despite intact Stellate repression, rhi mutant males exhibited compromised fertility accompanied by germline DNA damage and GSC loss. Thus, piRNA-guided repression is essential for normal spermatogenesis beyond Stellate silencing. While RDC associates with multiple piRNA clusters in GSCs and early spermatogonia, its localization changes in later stages as RDC concentrates on a single X-linked locus, AT-chX. Dynamic RDC localization is paralleled by changes in piRNA cluster expression, indicating that RDC executes a fluid piRNA program during different stages of spermatogenesis.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Chen, Peiwei0000-0001-7160-6673
Luo, Yicheng0000-0003-3704-2389
Aravin, Alexei A.0000-0002-6956-8257
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license. Posted August 25, 2020. We are grateful to Xin Chen, Peter Andersen, William Theurkauf, Trudi Schüpbach, Paul Lasko, Elena Pasyukova and three Drosophila Stock Centers (Bloomington, Vienna, Kyoto) for fly stocks. We thank Katalin Fejes Toth and members of Aravin lab for discussion and comments. We appreciate the help of Maria Ninova and Fan Gao (Bioinformatics Resource Center, Caltech) with bioinformatics analysis, the help of Grace Shin and Maayan Schwarzkopf with HCR experiments, the help of Giada Spigolon and Andres Collazo (Biological Imaging Facility, Caltech) with microscopy, and the help of Igor Antoshechkin (Millard and Muriel Jacobs Genetics and Genomics Laboratory, Caltech) with sequencing. This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01 GM097363) and by the HHMI Faculty Scholar Award to A.A.A. Data and code availability: Sequencing data will be uploaded to NCBI SRA. The authors declare no competing interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIHR01 GM097363
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200826-094353695
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Official Citation:RDC complex executes a dynamic piRNA program during Drosophila spermatogenesis to safeguard male fertility. Peiwei Chen, Yicheng Luo, Alexei A Aravin. bioRxiv 2020.08.25.266643; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105114
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Aug 2020 17:00
Last Modified:26 Aug 2020 17:00

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