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Journal Articles eLife Year : 2019

Environmentally-induced epigenetic conversion of a piRNA cluster


Transposable element (TE) activity is repressed in animal gonads by PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) produced by piRNA clusters. Current models in flies propose that germinal piRNA clusters are functionally defined by the maternal inheritance of piRNAs produced during the previous generation. Taking advantage of an inactive, but ready to go, cluster of P-element derived transgene insertions in Drosophila melanogaster, we show here that raising flies at high temperature (29°C) instead of 25°C triggers the stable conversion of this locus from inactive into actively producing functional piRNAs. The increase of antisense transcripts from the cluster at 29°C combined with the requirement of transcription of euchromatic homologous sequences, suggests a role of double stranded RNA in the production of de novo piRNAs. This report describes the first case of the establishment of an active piRNA cluster by environmental changes in the absence of maternal inheritance of homologous piRNAs.
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hal-02083485 , version 1 (29-03-2019)



Karine Casier, Valerie Delmarre, Nathalie Gueguen, Catherine Hermant, Elise Viodé, et al.. Environmentally-induced epigenetic conversion of a piRNA cluster. eLife, 2019, 8, pp.e39842. ⟨10.7554/eLife.39842⟩. ⟨hal-02083485⟩
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