A role for transcription from a piRNA cluster in de novo piRNA production

Shinpei Kawaoka, Hiroshi Mitsutake, Takashi Kiuchi, Maki Kobayashi, Mayu Yoshikawa, Yutaka Suzuki, Sumio Sugano, Toru Shimada, Jun Kobayashi, Yukihide Tomari, Susumu Katsuma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are at the heart of the nucleic acid-based adaptive immune system against transposons in animal gonads. To date, how the piRNA pathway senses an element as a substrate and how de novo piRNA production is initiated remain elusive. Here, by utilizing a GFP transgene, we screened and obtained clonal silkworm BmN4 cell lines producing massively amplified GFP-derived piRNAs capable of silencing GFP in trans. In multiple independent cell lines where GFP expression was silenced by the piRNA pathway, we detected a common transcript from an endogenous piRNA cluster, in which a part of the cluster is uniquely fused with an antisense GFP sequence. Bioinformatic analyses suggest that the fusion transcript is a source of GFP primary piRNAs. Our data implicate a role for transcription from a piRNA cluster in initiating de novo piRNA production against a new insertion. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-273
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • Silkworm
  • Trans-silencing
  • Transposon
  • piRNA
  • piRNA cluster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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