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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In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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