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A Transgenerational Process Defines piRNA Biogenesis in Drosophila virilis

Le Thomas, Adrien and Marinov, Georgi K. and Aravin, Alexei A. (2014) A Transgenerational Process Defines piRNA Biogenesis in Drosophila virilis. Cell Reports, 8 (6). pp. 1617-1623. ISSN 2211-1247. PMCID PMC5054749.

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Piwi-interacting (pi)RNAs repress diverse transposable elements in germ cells of Metazoa and are essential for fertility in both invertebrates and vertebrates. The precursors of piRNAs are transcribed from distinct genomic regions, the so-called piRNA clusters; however, how piRNA clusters are differentiated from the rest of the genome is not known. To address this question, we studied piRNA biogenesis in two D. virilis strains that show differential ability to generate piRNAs from several genomic regions. We found that active piRNA biogenesis correlates with high levels of histone 3 lysine 9 trimethylation (H3K9me3) over genomic regions that give rise to piRNAs. Furthermore, piRNA biogenesis in the progeny requires the transgenerational inheritance of an epigenetic signal, presumably in the form of homologous piRNAs that are generated in the maternal germline and deposited into the oocyte. The inherited piRNAs enhance piRNA biogenesis through the installment of H3K9me3 on piRNA clusters.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Marinov, Georgi K.0000-0003-1822-7273
Alternate Title:A trans-generational process defines piRNA biogenesis in Drosophila virilis
Additional Information:© 2014 The Authors. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( Received: April 6, 2014. Revised: May 22, 2014. Accepted: August 6, 2014. Published: September 4, 2014. We thank Katalin Fejes Toth and members of the Aravin lab for discussion. This work was supported by grants from the NIH (R01 GM097363 and DP2 OD007371A) and by the Damon Runyon-Rachleff, the Searle Scholar, and the Packard Fellowship Awards to A.A.A.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIHR01 GM097363
NIHDP2 OD007371A
Damon Runyon-Rachleff AwardUNSPECIFIED
Searle Scholars ProgramUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6
PubMed Central ID:PMC5054749
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140912-091626291
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Official Citation:Adrien Le Thomas, Georgi K. Marinov, Alexei A. Aravin, A Transgenerational Process Defines piRNA Biogenesis in Drosophila virilis, Cell Reports, Volume 8, Issue 6, 25 September 2014, Pages 1617-1623, ISSN 2211-1247, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:49643
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:12 Sep 2014 23:31
Last Modified:29 Oct 2019 23:22

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