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Coupled protein synthesis and ribosome-guided piRNA processing on mRNAs.

Yu H Sun, Ruoqiao H Wang, Khai Du, Jiang Zhu, Jihong Zheng, Li H Xie, Amanda A Pereira, Chao Zhang, Emiliano P Ricci, and Xin Z Li (2021)

Nat Commun, 12(1):5970.

PIWI-interacting small RNAs (piRNAs) protect the germline genome and are essentialfor fertility. piRNAs originate from transposable element (TE) RNAs, long non-codingRNAs, or 3´ untranslated regions (3´UTRs) of protein-coding messenger genes, withthe last being the least characterized of the three piRNA classes. Here, wedemonstrate that the precursors of 3´UTR piRNAs are full-length mRNAs and thatpost-termination 80S ribosomes guide piRNA production on 3´UTRs in mice andchickens. At the pachytene stage, when other co-translational RNA surveillancepathways are sequestered, piRNA biogenesis degrades mRNAs right after pioneer roundsof translation and fine-tunes protein production from mRNAs. Although 3´UTR piRNAprecursor mRNAs code for distinct proteins in mice and chickens, they all harborembedded TEs and produce piRNAs that cleave TEs. Altogether, we discover a functionof the piRNA pathway in fine-tuning protein production and reveal a conserved piRNAbiogenesis mechanism that recognizes translating RNAs in amniotes.

automatic medline import

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