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Clin Exp Reprod Med. 2011 Jun;38(2):61-7. doi: 10.5653/cerm.2011.38.2.61. Epub 2011 Jun 30.

Functions of PIWI proteins in spermatogenesis.

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  • 1Fertility Center of Gangnam Medical Center, CHA University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Recently, a significant understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating spermatogenesis has been achieved utilizing small RNA molecules (small RNAs), including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), microRNAs (miRNAs), and Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) which emerged as important regulators of gene expression at the post-transcriptional or translation level. piRNAs are only present in pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids, whereas miRNAs are expressed abundantly in male germ cells throughout spermatogenesis. This review is aimed at providing a glimpse of piRNAs and their interacting family proteins such as PIWIL1, PIWIL2, and PIWIL4 in spermatogenesis.


Human; Infertility; Mice; PIWI Protein; Spermatogenesis; piRNAs

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