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Dev Cell. 2010 Nov 16;19(5):687-97. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2010.10.011.

Small RNA-mediated quiescence of transposable elements in animals.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan.


Transposable elements (TEs) are major components of the intergenic regions of the genome. However, TE transposition has the potential to threaten the reproductive fitness of the organism; therefore, organisms have evolved specialized molecular systems to sense and repress the expression of TEs to stop them from jumping to other genomic loci. Emerging evidence suggests that Argonaute proteins play a critical role in this process, in collaboration with two types of cellular small RNAs: PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) of the germline and endogenous small interfering RNAs (endo-siRNAs) of the soma, both of which are transcribed from TEs themselves.

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