The silkworm W chromosome is a source of female-enriched piRNAs

Shinpei Kawaoka, Koji Kadota, Yuji Arai, Yutaka Suzuki, Tsuguru Fujii, Hiroaki Abe, Yuji Yasukochi, Kazuei Mita, Sumio Sugano, Kentaro Shimizu, Yukihide Tomari, Toru Shimada, Susumu Katsuma

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31 Citations (Scopus)


In the silkworm, Bombyx mori, the W chromosome plays a dominant role in female determination. However, neither protein-coding genes nor transcripts have so far been isolated from the W chromosome. Instead, a large amount of functional transposable elements and their remnants are accumulated on the W chromosome. PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are 23-30-nt-long small RNAs that potentially act as sequence-specific guides for PIWI proteins to silence transposon activity in animal gonads. In this study, by comparing ovary- and testis-derived piRNAs, we identified numerous female-enriched piRNAs. Our data indicated that female-enriched piRNAs are derived from theWchromosome. Moreover, comparative analyses on piRNA profiles from a series of W chromosome mutant strains revealed a striking enrichment of a specific set of transposon-derived piRNAs in the putative sex-determining region. Collectively, we revealed the nature of the silkworm W chromosome as a source of piRNAs. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2144-2151
Number of pages8
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology

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    Kawaoka, S., Kadota, K., Arai, Y., Suzuki, Y., Fujii, T., Abe, H., Yasukochi, Y., Mita, K., Sugano, S., Shimizu, K., Tomari, Y., Shimada, T., & Katsuma, S. (2011). The silkworm W chromosome is a source of female-enriched piRNAs. RNA, 17(12), 2144-2151.