The PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathway is essential for germline development and transposable element repression. Key elements of this pathway are members of the piRNA-binding PIWI/Argonaute protein family and associated factors (e.g., VASA, MAELSTROM, and TUDOR domain proteins). PIWI-interacting RNAs have been identified in mouse testis and oocytes, but information about the expression of the different piRNA pathway genes, in particular in the mammalian ovary, remains incomplete. We investigated the evolution and expression of piRNA pathway genes in gonads of amniote species (chicken, platypus, and mouse). Database searches confirm a high level of conservation and revealed lineage-specific gain and loss of Piwi genes in vertebrates. Expression analysis in mammals shows that orthologs of Piwi-like (Piwil) genes, Mael (Maelstrom), Mvh (mouse vasa homolog), and Tdrd1 (Tudor domain-containing protein 1) are expressed in platypus adult testis. In contrast to mouse, Piwil4 is expressed in platypus and human adult testis. We found evidence for Mael and Piwil2 expression in mouse Sertoli cells. Importantly, we show mRNA expression of Piwil2, Piwil4, and Mael in oocytes and supporting cells of human, mouse, and platypus ovary. We found no Piwil1 expression in mouse and chicken ovary. The conservation of gene expression in somatic parts of the gonad and germ cells of species that diverged over 800 million yr ago indicates an important role in adult male and female gonad.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 89 • No. 6