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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Intact piRNA pathway prevents L1 mobilization in male meiosis.


PMID 28630288

Abstract

The PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathway is essential for retrotransposon silencing. In piRNA-deficient mice, L1-overexpressing male germ cells exhibit excessive DNA damage and meiotic defects. It remains unknown whether L1 expression simply highlights piRNA deficiency or actually drives the germ-cell demise. Specifically, the sheer abundance of genomic L1 copies prevents reliable quantification of new insertions. Here, we developed a codon-optimized L1 transgene that is controlled by an endogenous mouse L1 promoter. Importantly, DNA methylation dynamics of a single-copy transgene were indistinguishable from those of endogenous L1s. Analysis of