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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2013 Apr;25(2):190-4. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2013 Mar 4.

Beyond transposons: the epigenetic and somatic functions of the Piwi-piRNA mechanism.

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  • 1Yale Stem Cell Center and Department of Cell Biology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06509, United States.


Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) were reported in 2006 as a novel class of small non-coding RNAs associated with Piwi proteins of the Argonaute/Piwi family. Recent studies have revealed not only the biogenesis of piRNAs and their roles in transposon silencing, but also the function of the Piwi-piRNA pathway in epigenetic and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. In addition, the function of this pathway in somatic cells has also been more systematically characterized. The new findings reveal the Piwi-piRNA pathway as a more general mechanism of gene regulation.

Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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