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Repeat-associated siRNAs cause chromatin silencing of retrotransposons in the Drosophila melanogaster germline

Klenov, Mikhail S. and Lavrov, Sergey A. and Stolyarenko, Anastasia D. and Ryazansky, Sergey S. and Aravin, Alexei A. and Tuschl, Thomas and Gvozdev, Vladimir A. (2007) Repeat-associated siRNAs cause chromatin silencing of retrotransposons in the Drosophila melanogaster germline. Nucleic Acids Research, 35 (16). pp. 5430-5438. ISSN 1362-4962. PMCID PMC2018648.

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Silencing of genomic repeats, including transposable elements, in Drosophila melanogaster is mediated by repeat-associated short interfering RNAs (rasiRNAs) interacting with proteins of the Piwi subfamily. rasiRNA-based silencing is thought to be mechanistically distinct from both the RNA interference and microRNA pathways. We show that the amount of rasiRNAs of a wide range of retroelements is drastically reduced in ovaries and testes of flies carrying a mutation in the spn-E gene. To address the mechanism of rasiRNA-dependent silencing of retrotransposons, we monitored their chromatin state in ovaries and somatic tissues. This revealed that the spn-E mutation causes chromatin opening of retroelements in ovaries, resulting in an increase in histone H3 K4 dimethylation and a decrease in histone H3 K9 di/trimethylation. The strongest chromatin changes have been detected for telomeric HeT-A elements that correlates with the most dramatic increase of their transcript level, compared to other mobile elements. The spn-E mutation also causes depletion of HP1 content in the chromatin of transposable elements, especially along HeT-A arrays. We also show that mutations in the genes controlling the rasiRNA pathway cause no derepression of the same retrotransposons in somatic tissues. Our results provide evidence that germinal Piwi-associated short RNAs induce chromatin modifications of their targets.

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Additional Information:© 2007 The Author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Received: 19 May 2007; Revision Received: 15 July 2007; Accepted: 15 July 2007; Published: 15 August 2007. We thank Alla Kalmykova for technical support in isolation of ovarian RNA used for short RNA cloning, Olesya Sokolova and Alina Korbut for help in RT-PCR and ChIP experiments, E.G. Pasyukova for kindly providing flies carrying the copiaLTR-lacZ construct and James M. Mason for help in the manuscript preparation. This work was supported by RAS program for Molecular and Cell Biology, Russian Foundation for Basic Research (05-04-48034), the program of Scientific School support (6113.2006.4) and grant of President of Russian Federation for young scientists ( Funding to pay the Open Access publication charges for this article was provided by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (05-04-48034). Conflict of interest statement. None declared.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Russian Foundation for Basic Research05-04-48034
Russian Foundation for Basic Research6113.2006.4
President of Russian Federation for Young Scientists02.120.11.9326
Issue or Number:16
PubMed Central ID:PMC2018648
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190509-130212772
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Official Citation:Mikhail S. Klenov, Sergey A. Lavrov, Anastasia D. Stolyarenko, Sergey S. Ryazansky, Alexei A. Aravin, Thomas Tuschl, Vladimir A. Gvozdev, Repeat-associated siRNAs cause chromatin silencing of retrotransposons in the Drosophila melanogaster germline, Nucleic Acids Research, Volume 35, Issue 16, August 2007, Pages 5430–5438,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:95378
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 May 2019 20:19
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 21:12

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