Dr. Mikiko Siomi and colleagues from the Institute for Genome Rsesearch in Japan have identified the elusive small RNA partners of Piwi proteins – lending new insight into the gene silencing pathways mediated by small RNAs in Drosophila.
Piwi (P-element-induced wimpy testis) is a member of the Drosophila Argonaute protein family, which is expressed specifically in fly testis and ovaries, and is necessary for germ stem cell self-renewal. It has recently been shown that Piwi is responsible for the silencing of retrotransposons in the testis.
Now, Dr. Siomi and colleagues demonstrate that in Drosophila ovaries, Piwi specifically associates with a distinct class of 25-29 nucleotide-long small RNAs, called repeat-associated siRNAs (rasiRNAs). They further show that Piwi is able to cleave target RNAs in vitro – what the authors refer to as Slicer activity.
According to the authors, their result suggest "that Piwi functions in nuclear RNA silencing as Slicer by associating specifically with the rasiRNAs," thereby introducing a third, and novel, pathway of gene silencing in Drosophila.
Heather Cosel | EurekAlert!
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At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
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University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
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Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
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