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Cell Res. 2014 Jun;24(6):680-700. doi: 10.1038/cr.2014.41. Epub 2014 May 2.

Pachytene piRNAs instruct massive mRNA elimination during late spermiogenesis.

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1] Center for RNA Research, State Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology-University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China [2] Shanghai Key Laboratory of Molecular Andrology, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China.
Key Laboratory of Gene Engineering of the Ministry of Education, State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangzhou 510275, China.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0651, USA.
National Population and Family Planning Committee Key Laboratory of Contraceptive Drugs & Devices, Shanghai Institute of Planned Parenthood Research, Shanghai 200032, China.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Center for Genetics and Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, US.
Center for RNA Research, State Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology-University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China.


Spermatogenesis in mammals is characterized by two waves of piRNA expression: one corresponds to classic piRNAs responsible for silencing retrotransponsons and the second wave is predominantly derived from nontransposon intergenic regions in pachytene spermatocytes, but the function of these pachytene piRNAs is largely unknown. Here, we report the involvement of pachytene piRNAs in instructing massive mRNA elimination in mouse elongating spermatids (ES). We demonstrate that a piRNA-induced silencing complex (pi-RISC) containing murine PIWI (MIWI) and deadenylase CAF1 is selectively assembled in ES, which is responsible for inducing mRNA deadenylation and decay via a mechanism that resembles the action of miRNAs in somatic cells. Such a highly orchestrated program appears to take full advantage of the enormous repertoire of diversified targeting capacity of pachytene piRNAs derived from nontransposon intergenic regions. These findings suggest that pachytene piRNAs are responsible for inactivating vast cellular programs in preparation for sperm production from ES.

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