RNA Therapeutics Institute
Developmental Biology | Genetics and Genomics | Nucleic Acids, Nucleotides, and Nucleosides
In several species, Piwi/piRNA genome silencing defects cause immediate sterility that correlates with transposon expression and transposon-induced genomic instability. In C. elegans, mutations in the Piwi-related gene (prg-1) and other piRNA deficient mutants cause a transgenerational decline in fertility over a period of several generations. Here we show that the sterility of late generation piRNA mutants correlates poorly with increases in DNA damage signaling. Instead, sterile individuals consistently exhibit altered perinuclear germ granules. We show that disruption of germ granules does not activate transposon expression but induces multiple phenotypes found in sterile prg-1 pathway mutants. Furthermore, loss of the germ granule component pgl-1 enhances prg-1 mutant infertility. Environmental restoration of germ granule function for sterile pgl-1 mutants restores their fertility. We propose that Piwi mutant sterility is a reproductive arrest phenotype that is characterized by perturbed germ granule structure and is phenocopied by germ granule dysfunction, independent of genomic instability.
Epigenetic memory, Germline development, Gene regulation, Piwi RNAs
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DOI of Published Version
Spichal M, Heestand B, Billmyre KK, Frenk S, Mello CC, Ahmed S. Germ granule dysfunction is a hallmark and mirror of Piwi mutant sterility. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 3;12(1):1420. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21635-0. PMID: 33658512; PMCID: PMC7930041. Link to article on publisher's site
Spichal M, Heestand B, Billmyre KK, Frenk S, Mello CC, Ahmed S. (2021). Germ granule dysfunction is a hallmark and mirror of Piwi mutant sterility. Open Access Publications by UMMS Authors. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21635-0. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/oapubs/4651
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.