Transcriptome-wide piRNA profiling in human brains for aging genetic factors.
ABSTRACT: Objective:Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) represent a molecular feature shared by all nonaging biological systems, including the germline and somatic cancer stem cells, which display an indefinite renewal capacity and lifespan-stable genomic integrity and are potentially immortal. Here, we tested the hypothesis that piRNA is a critical genetic determinant of aging in humans. Methods:Expression of transcriptome-wide piRNAs (n=24k) was profiled in the human prefrontal cortex of 12 subjects (84.9±9.5, range 68-100, years of age) using microarray technology. We examined the correlation between these piRNAs' expression levels and age, adjusting for covariates including disease status. Results:A total of 9,453 piRNAs were detected in brain. Including seven intergenic and three intronic piRNAs, ten piRNAs were significantly associated with age after correction for multiple testing (|r|=0.9; 1.9×10-5?p?9.9×10-5). Conclusion:We conclude that piRNAs might play a potential role in determining the years of survival of humans. The underlying mechanisms might involve the suppression of transposable elements (TEs) and expression regulation of aging-associated genes.
Project description:Piwi?interacting RNAs (piRNAs) comprise the largest class of non?coding RNAs. They represent a molecular feature shared by all non?aging biological systems, including germline and somatic cancer stem cells, which display an indefinite capacity of renewal and proliferation and are potentially immortal. They have been identified in animal stomachs, but their relationship with human gastric cancers remains largely unclear. The present study aimed to identify the piRNAs associated with human gastric cancers across the whole transcriptome. Fresh tumor tissues and adjacent non?tumorous tissues from stomachs were examined using a piRNA microarray (23,677 piRNAs) that was then validated by qPCR. The differential expression of piRNAs between cases and controls was analyzed. The transposable elements (TEs) that are potentially targeted by the risk piRNAs were searched. The expression of the nearest genes that are complementary to the sequences of the piRNAs was examined in the stomach tissue. The regulatory effects of genome?wide significant and replicated cancer?risk DNA variants on the piRNA expression in stomach were tested. Based on the findings, we identified a total of 8,759 piRNAs in human stomachs. Of all, 50 were significantly (P<0.05) and differentially (>2?fold change) expressed between the cases and controls, and 64.7% of the protein?coding genes potentially regulated by the gastric cancer?associated piRNAs were expressed in the human stomach. The expression of many cancer?associated piRNAs was correlated with the genome?wide and replicated cancer?risk SNPs. In conclusion, we conclude that piRNAs are abundant in human stomachs and may play important roles in the etiological processes of gastric cancers.
Project description:Discovered in the brains of multiple animal species, piRNAs may contribute to the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric illnesses. The present study aimed to identify brain piRNAs across transcriptome that are associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Prefrontal cortical tissues of 6 AD cases and 6 controls were examined for piRNA expression levels using an Arraystar HG19 piRNA array (containing 23,677 piRNAs) and genotyped for 17 genome-wide significant and replicated risk SNPs. We examined whether piRNAs are expressed differently between AD cases and controls and explored the potential regulatory effects of risk SNPs on piRNA expression levels. We identified a total of 9453 piRNAs in human brains, with 103 nominally (p < 0.05) differentially (>1.5 fold) expressed in AD cases versus controls and most of the 103 piRNAs nominally correlated with genome-wide significant risk SNPs. We conclude that piRNAs are abundant in human brains and may represent risk biomarkers of AD.
Project description:The maintenance of genome integrity is an essential trait to the successful transmission of genetic information. In animal germ cells, piRNAs guide PIWI proteins to silence transposable elements (TEs) in order to maintain genome integrity. In insects, most TE silencing in the germline is achieved by secondary piRNAs that are produced by a feed-forward loop (the ping-pong cycle), which requires the piRNA-directed cleavage of two types of RNAs: mRNAs of functional euchromatic TEs and heterochromatic transcripts that contain defective TE sequences. The first cleavage that initiates such an amplification loop remains poorly understood. Taking advantage of the existence of strains that are devoid of functional copies of the LINE-like I-element, we report here that in such Drosophila ovaries, the initiation of a ping-pong cycle is exclusively achieved by secondary I-element piRNAs that are produced in the ovary and deposited in the embryonic germline. This unusual secondary piRNA biogenesis, detected in the absence of functional I-element copies, results from the processing of sense and antisense transcripts of several different defective I-element. Once acquired, for instance after ancestor aging, this capacity to produce heterochromatic-only secondary piRNAs is partially transmitted through generations via maternal piRNAs. Furthermore, such piRNAs acting as ping-pong initiators in a chromatin-independent manner confer to the progeny a high capacity to repress the I-element mobility. Our study explains, at the molecular level, the basis for epigenetic memory of maternal immunity that protects females from hybrid dysgenesis caused by transposition of paternally inherited functional I-element.
Project description:Based on the dominance of cellular senescence over immortality, immortal human cell lines have been assigned to four complementation groups for indefinite division. Human chromosomes carrying senescence genes have been identified, including chromosome 4. We report the cloning and identification of a gene, mortality factor 4 (MORF 4), which induces a senescent-like phenotype in immortal cell lines assigned to complementation group B with concomitant changes in two markers for senescence. MORF 4 is a member of a novel family of genes with transcription factor-like motifs. We present here the sequences of the seven family members, their chromosomal locations, and a partial characterization of the three members that are expressed. Elucidation of the mechanism of action of these genes should enhance our understanding of growth regulation and cellular aging.
Project description:PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) protect the animal germ line by silencing transposons. Primary piRNAs, generated from transcripts of genomic transposon "junkyards" (piRNA clusters), are amplified by the "ping-pong" pathway, yielding secondary piRNAs. We report that secondary piRNAs, bound to the PIWI protein Ago3, can initiate primary piRNA production from cleaved transposon RNAs. The first ~26 nucleotides (nt) of each cleaved RNA becomes a secondary piRNA, but the subsequent ~26 nt become the first in a series of phased primary piRNAs that bind Piwi, allowing piRNAs to spread beyond the site of RNA cleavage. The ping-pong pathway increases only the abundance of piRNAs, whereas production of phased primary piRNAs from cleaved transposon RNAs adds sequence diversity to the piRNA pool, allowing adaptation to changes in transposon sequence.
Project description:Pachytene piRNAs are the most abundant piRNAs in mammalian adult testes. They are generated from long precursor transcripts by the primary piRNA biogenesis pathway but the factors involved in pachytene piRNA precursors processing are poorly understood. Here we show that the Tudor domain-containing 5 (TDRD5) protein is essential for pachytene piRNA biogenesis in mice. Conditional inactivation of TDRD5 in mouse postnatal germ cells reveals that TDRD5 selectively regulates the production of pachytene piRNAs from abundant piRNA-producing precursors, with little effect on low-abundant piRNAs. Unexpectedly, TDRD5 is not required for the 5' end processing of the precursors, but is crucial for promoting production of piRNAs from the other regions of the transcript. Furthermore, we show that TDRD5 is an RNA-binding protein directly associating with piRNA precursors. These observations establish TDRD5 as a piRNA biogenesis factor and reveal two genetically separable steps at the start of pachytene piRNA processing.
Project description:PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) silence transposons in Drosophila ovaries, ensuring female fertility. Two coupled pathways generate germline piRNAs: the ping-pong cycle, in which the PIWI proteins Aubergine and Ago3 increase the abundance of pre-existing piRNAs, and the phased piRNA pathway, which generates strings of tail-to-head piRNAs, one after another. Proteins acting in the ping-pong cycle localize to nuage, whereas phased piRNA production requires Zucchini, an endonuclease on the mitochondrial surface. Here, we report that Armitage (Armi), an RNA-binding ATPase localized to both nuage and mitochondria, links the ping-pong cycle to the phased piRNA pathway. Mutations that block phased piRNA production deplete Armi from nuage. Armi ATPase mutants cannot support phased piRNA production and inappropriately bind mRNA instead of piRNA precursors. We propose that Armi shuttles between nuage and mitochondria, feeding precursor piRNAs generated by Ago3 cleavage into the Zucchini-dependent production of Aubergine- and Piwi-bound piRNAs on the mitochondrial surface.
Project description:Small noncoding RNAs that associate with Piwi proteins, called piRNAs, serve as guides for repression of diverse transposable elements in germ cells of metazoa. In Drosophila, the genomic regions that give rise to piRNAs, the so-called piRNA clusters, are transcribed to generate long precursor molecules that are processed into mature piRNAs. How genomic regions that give rise to piRNA precursor transcripts are differentiated from the rest of the genome and how these transcripts are specifically channeled into the piRNA biogenesis pathway are not known. We found that transgenerationally inherited piRNAs provide the critical trigger for piRNA production from homologous genomic regions in the next generation by two different mechanisms. First, inherited piRNAs enhance processing of homologous transcripts into mature piRNAs by initiating the ping-pong cycle in the cytoplasm. Second, inherited piRNAs induce installment of the histone 3 Lys9 trimethylation (H3K9me3) mark on genomic piRNA cluster sequences. The heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) homolog Rhino binds to the H3K9me3 mark through its chromodomain and is enriched over piRNA clusters. Rhino recruits the piRNA biogenesis factor Cutoff to piRNA clusters and is required for efficient transcription of piRNA precursors. We propose that transgenerationally inherited piRNAs act as an epigenetic memory for identification of substrates for piRNA biogenesis on two levels: by inducing a permissive chromatin environment for piRNA precursor synthesis and by enhancing processing of these precursors.
Project description:In eukaryotes, aberrant expression of transposable elements (TEs) is detrimental to the host genome. Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) of ?23 to 30 nucleotides bound to PIWI clade Argonaute proteins silence transposons in a manner that is strictly dependent on their sequence complementarity. Hence, a key goal in understanding piRNA pathways is to determine mechanisms that modulate piRNA sequences. Here, we identify a protein-protein interaction between the 3'-to-5' exoribonuclease Nibbler (Nbr) and Piwi that links Nbr activity with piRNA pathways. We show that there is a delicate balance in the interplay between Nbr and Hen1, a methyltransferase involved in 2'-O-methylation at the 3' terminal nucleotides of piRNAs, thus connecting two genes with opposing activities in the biogenesis of piRNA 3' ends. With age, piRNAs become shorter and fewer in number, which is coupled with the derepression of select TEs. We demonstrate that activities of Nbr and Hen1 inherently contribute to TE silencing and age-dependent profiles of piRNAs. We propose that antagonistic roles of Nbr and Hen1 define a mechanism to modulate piRNA 3' ends.
Project description:Normal cells in culture exhibit limited division potential and have been used as a model for cellular senescence. In contrast, tumor-derived or carcinogen- or virus-transformed cells are capable of indefinite division. Fusion of normal human diploid fibroblasts with immortal human cells yielded hybrids having limited life spans, indicating that cellular senescence was dominant. Fusions of various immortal human cell lines with each other led to the identification of four complementation groups for indefinite division. The purpose of this study was to determine whether human chromosome 1 could complement the recessive immortal defect of human cell lines assigned to one of the four complementation groups. Using microcell fusion, we introduced a single normal human chromosome 1 into immortal human cell lines representing the complementation groups and determined that it caused loss of proliferative potential of an osteosarcoma-derived cell line (TE85), a cytomegalovirus-transformed lung fibroblast cell line (CMV-Mj-HEL-1), and a Ki-ras(+)-transformed derivative of TE85 (143B TK-), all of which were assigned to complementation group C. This chromosome 1 caused no change in proliferative potential of cell lines representing the other complementation groups. A derivative of human chromosome 1 that had lost most of the q arm by spontaneous deletion was unable to induce senescence in any of the immortal cell lines. This finding indicates that the q arm of human chromosome 1 carries a gene or set of genes which is altered in the cell lines assigned to complementation group C and is involved in the control of cellular senescence.