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Cell. 2007 Apr 6;129(1):37-44.

Mighty Piwis defend the germline against genome intruders.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Piwis are a germline-specific subclass of the Argonaute family of RNA interference (RNAi) effector proteins that are associated with a recently discovered group of small RNAs (piRNAs). Recent studies in Drosophila and zebrafish directly implicate Piwi proteins in piRNA biogenesis to maintain transposon silencing in the germline genome (Brennecke et al., 2007; Gunawardane et al., 2007; Houwing et al., 2007). This function may be conserved in mice as loss of Miwi2, a mouse Piwi homolog, leads to germline stem cell and meiotic defects correlated with increased transposon activity (Carmell et al., 2007).

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