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RNA Biol. 2004 May;1(1):54-8. Epub 2004 May 21.

The RNA interference proteins and vasa locus are involved in the silencing of retrotransposons in the female germline of Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Animal Molecular Genetics, Institute of Molecular Genetics, Moscow, Russia.


RNA interference (RNAi) is considered as a defense against expansion of transposable elements. The proteins related to RNA helicase and Argonaute families are involved in RNAi process in different organisms. It was shown that Argonaute AUBERGINE and putative RNA helicase SPINDLE-E proteins were essential for RNAi in Drosophila. Here, we describe the role of aubergine (aub) and spindle-E (spn-E) genes in the control of LTR retrotransposon copia and nonLTR telomeric Het-A and I retrotransposons in ovaries. spn-E mutation causes a drastically increased lacZ expression driven by copia LTR. For the first time we show the involvement of AUBERGINE protein and VASA RNA helicase, essential for oocyte patterning, in the retrotransposon silencing. spn-E, vasa and aub mutations cause similar accumulation of both I element and Het-A transcripts in the developing oocyte. VASA and AUBERGINE proteins are known as components of perinuclear ribonucleoprotein particles in germ cells, and spn-E mutation disturbs protein content of the particles. We suggest participation of these proteins in the same silencing pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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