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Nature. 2014 Jan 16;505(7483):353-359. doi: 10.1038/nature12987.

PIWI proteins and PIWI-interacting RNAs in the soma.

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1
Yale Stem Cell Center and Department of Cell Biology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06509, USA.
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Contributed equally

Abstract

The discovery of millions of PIWI-interacting RNAs revealed a fascinating and unanticipated dimension of biology. The PIWI-piRNA pathway has been commonly perceived as germline-specific, even though the somatic function of PIWI proteins was documented when they were first discovered. Recent studies have begun to re-explore this pathway in somatic cells in diverse organisms, particularly lower eukaryotes. These studies have illustrated the multifaceted somatic functions of the pathway not only in transposon silencing but also in genome rearrangement and epigenetic programming, with biological roles in stem-cell function, whole-body regeneration, memory and possibly cancer.

PMID:
24429634
PMCID:
PMC4265809
DOI:
10.1038/nature12987
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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