A MILI-independent piRNA biogenesis pathway empowers partial germline reprogramming.
Vasiliauskaitė L., Vitsios D., Berrens RV., Carrieri C., Reik W., Enright AJ., O'Carroll D.
In mice, the pathway involving PIWI and PIWI-interacting RNA (PIWI-piRNA) is essential to re-establish transposon silencing during male-germline reprogramming. The cytoplasmic PIWI protein MILI mediates piRNA-guided transposon RNA cleavage as well as piRNA amplification. MIWI2's binding to piRNA and its nuclear localization are proposed to be dependent upon MILI function. Here, we demonstrate the existence of a piRNA biogenesis pathway that sustains partial MIWI2 function and reprogramming activity in the absence of MILI.