Tdrkh is essential for spermatogenesis and participates in primary piRNA biogenesis in the germline.
ABSTRACT: Piwi proteins and Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) repress transposition, regulate translation, and guide epigenetic programming in the germline. Here, we show that an evolutionarily conserved Tudor and KH domain-containing protein, Tdrkh (a.k.a. Tdrd2), is required for spermatogenesis and involved in piRNA biogenesis. Tdrkh partners with Miwi and Miwi2 via symmetrically dimethylated arginine residues in Miwi and Miwi2. Tdrkh is a mitochondrial protein often juxtaposed to pi-bodies and piP-bodies and is required for Tdrd1 cytoplasmic localization and Miwi2 nuclear localization. Tdrkh mutants display meiotic arrest at the zygotene stage, attenuate methylation of Line1 DNA, and upregulate Line1 RNA and protein, without inducing apoptosis. Furthermore, Tdrkh mutants have severely reduced levels of mature piRNAs but accumulate a distinct population of 1'U-containing, 2'O-methylated 31-37?nt RNAs that largely complement the missing mature piRNAs. Our results demonstrate that the primary piRNA biogenesis pathway involves 3'?5' processing of 31-37?nt intermediates and that Tdrkh promotes this final step of piRNA biogenesis but not the ping-pong cycle. These results shed light on mechanisms underlying primary piRNA biogenesis, an area in which information is conspicuously absent.
Project description:PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) engage PIWI proteins to silence transposons and promote germ cell development in animals. In diverse species, piRNA biogenesis occurs near the mitochondrial surface, and involves mitochondrial membrane-anchored factors. In mice, two cytoplasmic PIWI proteins, MIWI and MILI, receive processed pachytene piRNAs at intermitochodrial cement (IMC). However, how MIWI and MILI are initially recruited to the IMC to engage multiple steps of piRNA processing is unclear. Here, we show that mitochondria-anchored TDRKH controls multiple steps of pachytene piRNA biogenesis in mice. TDRKH specifically recruits MIWI, but not MILI, to engage the piRNA pathway. It is required for the production of the entire MIWI-bound piRNA population and enables trimming of MILI-bound piRNAs. The failure to recruit MIWI to the IMC with TDRKH deficiency results in loss of MIWI in the chromatoid body, leading to spermiogenic arrest and piRNA-independent retrotransposon LINE1 de-repression in round spermatids. Our findings identify a mitochondrial surface-based scaffolding mechanism separating the entry and actions of two critical PIWI proteins in the same piRNA pathway to drive piRNA biogenesis and germ cell development.
Project description:PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) guide PIWI proteins to suppress transposons in the cytoplasm and nucleus of animal germ cells, but how silencing in the two compartments is coordinated is not known. Here we demonstrate that endonucleolytic slicing of a transcript by the cytosolic mouse PIWI protein MILI acts as a trigger to initiate its further 5'?3' processing into non-overlapping fragments. These fragments accumulate as new piRNAs within both cytosolic MILI and the nuclear MIWI2. We also identify Exonuclease domain-containing 1 (EXD1) as a partner of the MIWI2 piRNA biogenesis factor TDRD12. EXD1 homodimers are inactive as a nuclease but function as an RNA adaptor within a PET (PIWI-EXD1-Tdrd12) complex. Loss of Exd1 reduces sequences generated by MILI slicing, impacts biogenesis of MIWI2 piRNAs, and de-represses LINE1 retrotransposons. Thus, piRNA biogenesis triggered by PIWI slicing, and promoted by EXD1, ensures that the same guides instruct PIWI proteins in the nucleus and cytoplasm.
Project description:Piwi proteins and their associated piRNAs are essential in the germline where they repress transposition, regulate translation, and guide epigenetic programming. Little is known, however, about the molecular mechanisms through which Piwi proteins and piRNAs mediate these processes. Here, we show that an evolutionarily conserved Tudor and KH-domain containing protein, Tdrkh (a.k.a. Tdrd2), partners with Miwi and Miwi2 in mice via symmetrically dimethylated arginine residues in Miwi and Miwi2. Tdrkh is localized to pi-bodies and piP-bodies and is required for nuclear localization of Miwi2. Genetic deletion of Tdrkh arrests meiosis at the zygotene stage, demethylates Line1 DNA, and up-regulates Line1 transposition, but does not promote apoptosis. Furthermore, Tdrkh mutants have severely reduced levels of mature piRNAs. Specifically, in Tdrkh mutants, piRNAs accumulate as a distinct population of 5’U-containing 31-37nt RNA that largely complements the missing mature piRNAs. These results demonstrate that the primary piRNA biogenesis pathway involves 3à5’ processing of the 31-37nt intermediates and that Tdrkh is required for this final step of piRNA biogenesis. However, Tdrkh is not required for the secondary piRNA biogenesis pathway (i.e., the ping pong cycle). These results shed light on mechanisms underlying primary piRNA biogenesis, an area in which information is conspicuously absent. Tdrkh-floxed mice were generated by the University of Connecticut Gene Targeting and Transgenic Facility. The targeting vector utilized C57Bl6 Tdrkh genome sequences from BAC clone RP23-263K17 (Chori BACPAC) and floxed exons 2-4 (the start codon is in exon 2) and was electroporated into D2 ES cells, a male hybrid C57Bl6/129SEV line. Clones that survived positive selection with G418 and negative selection with gancyclovir were expanded and screened by PCR with primers recognizing endogenous and exogenous (vector-derived) sequences. Positive clones were fused to CD-1 embryos, and germline transmission from resulting pups was confirmed by test crosses to CD-1 mice (which also confirmed that all gametes were derived from the targeted clones). Positive animals were bred to FLP mice to delete the neomycin-targeting cassette, resulting in Tdrkh cKO mice on a C57Bl6/129 background. cKO mice were bred with EIIa-Cre transgenic mice to excise the floxed exons 2-4 and generate Tdrkh +/- animals. Heterozygous animas were intercrossed to remove the EIIA transgene. Two independent knockout lines were generated from independent cKO founder lines and showed identical phenotypes in all experiments performed.
Project description:PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) play a crucial role in transposon silencing in animal germ cells. In piRNA biogenesis, single-stranded piRNA intermediates are loaded into PIWI-clade proteins and cleaved by Zucchini/MitoPLD, yielding precursor piRNAs (pre-piRNAs). Pre-piRNAs that are longer than the mature piRNA length are then trimmed at their 3' ends. Although recent studies implicated the Tudor domain protein Papi/Tdrkh in pre-piRNA trimming, the identity of Trimmer and its relationship with Papi/Tdrkh remain unknown. Here, we identified PNLDC1, an uncharacterized 3'-5' exonuclease, as Trimmer in silkworms. Trimmer is enriched in the mitochondrial fraction and binds to Papi/Tdrkh. Depletion of Trimmer and Papi/Tdrkh additively inhibits trimming, causing accumulation of ?35-40-nt pre-piRNAs that are impaired for target cleavage and prone to degradation. Our results highlight the cooperative action of Trimmer and Papi/Tdrkh in piRNA maturation.
Project description:PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) guide PIWI proteins to suppress transposable elements in animal gonads. Here we demonstrate that in the mouse embryonic male germline, endonucleolytic cleavage (slicing) of a transcript by cytosolic MILI acts as a trigger to initiate its further 5??3? processing into non-overlapping fragments. These fragments accumulate as new piRNAs within the nuclear PIWI protein MIWI2. We identify Exonuclease domain-containing 1 (EXD1) as a partner of the established MIWI2 piRNA biogenesis factor TDRD12. Although EXD1 homodimers are inactive as a nuclease, it functions as an RNA adapter within a PET (PIWI-EXD1-Tdrd12) complex. Loss of Exd1 impacts biogenesis of MIWI2 piRNAs and displays a reduction in sequences generated by MILI slicing. This results in selective depletion of repeat piRNAs that target active retrotransposons like LINE1, which are de-repressed in the mutant. We propose that PIWI slicing and EXD1 promote coordination of nucleo-cytoplasmic silencing via piRNA biogenesis. Immunoprecipitated or total small RNAs were purified and sequenced from P0 mouse testis of Exd1+/- and Exd1 -/- mice. Testes of three males were pooled together and MILI and MIWI2 immunoprecipitation was performed or total small RNAs were purified. Two replicas from different pools were prepared. For Rosa26-pi reporter mouse P0 testes of three males were pooled together and MILI and MIWI2 immunoprecipitation was performed.
Project description:PIWI-interacting RNAs(piRNAs) are required for transposon repression, de novo DNA methylation, epigenetic and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in the germline. A mist of piRNA biogenesis is the identification of the 3’-5’ exnuclease that trimms the 3’ end of piRNA intermediates to form mature piRNAs in mammals. Here, we show that mice deficient for PNLDC1, an evolutionarily conserved 3’-5’ exonuclease, accumulate 3’ untrimmed piRNA intermediates of 30~40nt. These 3’ extended piRNA intermediates associate with PIWI proteins, but are impaired for function. Male Pnldc1 knockout mice display LINE1 derepression and are sterile owing to chimeric spermatogenetic arrest at spermatocyte and spermatid stages. Our findings illustrate the conserved role of mouse Pnldc1 in 3’ trimming during piRNA maturation. However, since Pnldc1 knockout in mice creates phenotypes distinct from its reported interactive partner, Tdrkh, the panorama of participants in mammalian piRNA 3’ end maturation may be more complex than previously speculated.
Project description:Small RNAs called PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) act as an immune system to suppress transposable elements in the animal gonads. A poorly understood adaptive pathway links cytoplasmic slicing of target RNA by the PIWI protein MILI to loading of target-derived piRNAs into nuclear MIWI2. Here we demonstrate that MILI slicing generates a 16-nt by-product that is discarded and a pre-piRNA intermediate that is used for phased piRNA production. The ATPase activity of Mouse Vasa Homolog (MVH) is essential for processing the intermediate into piRNAs, ensuring transposon silencing and male fertility. The ATPase activity controls dissociation of an MVH complex containing PIWI proteins, piRNAs, and slicer products, allowing safe handover of the intermediate. In contrast, ATPase activity of TDRD9 is dispensable for piRNA biogenesis but is essential for transposon silencing and male fertility. Our work implicates distinct RNA helicases in specific steps along the nuclear piRNA pathway.
Project description:In developing male germ cells, prospermatogonia, two Piwi proteins, MILI and MIWI2, use piRNA guides to repress transposable element (TE) expression and ensure genome stability and proper gametogenesis. In addition to their roles in post-transcriptional TE repression, both proteins are required for DNA methylation of TE sequences. Here we analyzed the effect of Miwi2 deficiency on piRNA biogenesis and transposon repression. Miwi2-deficiency had only a minor impact on piRNA biogenesis; however, the piRNA profile of Miwi2-knockout mice indicated overexpression of several LINE1 TE families that led to activation of the ping-pong piRNA cycle. Furthermore, we found that MILI and MIWI2 have distinct functions in TE repression in the nucleus. MILI is responsible for DNA methylation of a larger subset of TE families than MIWI2 suggesting that the proteins have independent roles in establishing DNA methylation patterns. Small RNA profiles (19-30 nt range) of embryonic (E16.5) and post-natal (P10) testis of Miwi2 mutant mice and matched heterozygote controls. mRNA profiles of embryonic testis (E16.5) of heterozygote control mice and of postnatal testis (P10) of Miwi2 and Mili mutants and heterozygote controls. CpG methylation BS-seq profile of postnatal (P10) spermatocytes of Miwi2 mutant mice and matched heterozygote controls.
Project description:In developing male germ cells, prospermatogonia, two Piwi proteins, MILI and MIWI2, use Piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA) guides to repress transposable element (TE) expression and ensure genome stability and proper gametogenesis. In addition to their roles in post-transcriptional TE repression, both proteins are required for DNA methylation of TE sequences. Here, we analyzed the effect of Miwi2 deficiency on piRNA biogenesis and transposon repression. Miwi2 deficiency had only a minor impact on piRNA biogenesis; however, the piRNA profile of Miwi2-knockout mice indicated overexpression of several LINE1 TE families that led to activation of the ping-pong piRNA cycle. Furthermore, we found that MILI and MIWI2 have distinct functions in TE repression in the nucleus. MILI is responsible for DNA methylation of a larger subset of TE families than MIWI2 is, suggesting that the proteins have independent roles in establishing DNA methylation patterns.
Project description:The mouse PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathway produces a class of 26-30-nucleotide (nt) small RNAs and is essential for spermatogenesis and retrotransposon repression. In oocytes, however, its regulation and function are poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated the consequences of loss of piRNA-pathway components in growing oocytes. When MILI (or PIWIL2), a PIWI family member, was depleted by gene knockout, almost all piRNAs disappeared. This severe loss of piRNA was accompanied by an increase in transcripts derived from specific retrotransposons, especially IAPs. MIWI (or PIWIL1) depletion had a smaller effect. In oocytes lacking PLD6 (or ZUCCHINI or MITOPLD), a mitochondrial nuclease/phospholipase involved in piRNA biogenesis in male germ cells, the piRNA level was decreased to 50% compared to wild-type, a phenotype much milder than that in males. Since PLD6 is essential for the creation of the 5? ends of primary piRNAs in males, the presence of mature piRNA in PLD6-depleted oocytes suggests the presence of compensating enzymes. Furthermore, we identified novel 21-23-nt small RNAs, termed spiRNAs, possessing a 10-nt complementarity with piRNAs, which were produced dependent on MILI and independent of DICER. Our study revealed the differences in the biogenesis and function of the piRNA pathway between sexes.