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      Host–transposon interactions: conflict, cooperation, and cooption

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      Genes & Development

      Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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          Selfish genes, the phenotype paradigm and genome evolution.

          Natural selection operating within genomes will inevitably result in the appearance of DNAs with no phenotypic expression whose only 'function' is survival within genomes. Prokaryotic transposable elements and eukaryotic middle-repetitive sequences can be seen as such DNA's and thus no phenotypic or evolutionary function need be assigned to them.
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            MIWI2 is essential for spermatogenesis and repression of transposons in the mouse male germline.

            Small RNAs associate with Argonaute proteins and serve as sequence-specific guides for regulation of mRNA stability, productive translation, chromatin organization, and genome structure. In animals, the Argonaute superfamily segregates into two clades. The Argonaute clade acts in RNAi and in microRNA-mediated gene regulation in partnership with 21-22 nt RNAs. The Piwi clade, and their 26-30 nt piRNA partners, have yet to be assigned definitive functions. In mice, two Piwi-family members have been demonstrated to have essential roles in spermatogenesis. Here, we examine the effects of disrupting the gene encoding the third family member, MIWI2. Miwi2-deficient mice display a meiotic-progression defect in early prophase of meiosis I and a marked and progressive loss of germ cells with age. These phenotypes may be linked to an inappropriate activation of transposable elements detected in Miwi2 mutants. Our observations suggest a conserved function for Piwi-clade proteins in the control of transposons in the germline.
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              The expanding world of small RNAs in plants.

              Plant genomes encode various small RNAs that function in distinct, yet overlapping, genetic and epigenetic silencing pathways. However, the abundance and diversity of small-RNA classes varies among plant species, suggesting coevolution between environmental adaptations and gene-silencing mechanisms. Biogenesis of small RNAs in plants is well understood, but we are just beginning to uncover their intricate regulation and activity. Here, we discuss the biogenesis of plant small RNAs, such as microRNAs, secondary siRNAs and heterochromatic siRNAs, and their diverse cellular and developmental functions, including in reproductive transitions, genomic imprinting and paramutation. We also discuss the diversification of small-RNA-directed silencing pathways through the expansion of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases, DICER proteins and ARGONAUTE proteins.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Genes & Development
                Genes Dev.
                Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
                0890-9369
                1549-5477
                September 03 2019
                September 01 2019
                September 03 2019
                September 01 2019
                : 33
                : 17-18
                : 1098-1116
                Article
                10.1101/gad.327312.119
                © 2019

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