PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are germline-specific small RNAs that form effector complexes with PIWI proteins to preserve genomic integrity by repressing transposable elements (TEs). Mutations in the Drosophila piRNA pathway result in sterility in the male and female germline, while only male sterility has been reported in mice. Here, I will discuss the epigenetic regulation mechanism of PIWI-piRNAs in Drosophila ovaries, analyzed using a cell line. Moreover, we utilized hamster to show how the PIWI-piRNA system can be essential not only in Drosophila but also in the mammalian female. We use various deep-sequencing approaches combined with molecular biology analysis to reveal the impact of TE silencing by PIWI-piRNAs.
Associate Professor, Keio University School of Medicine
Yuka W. Iwasaki is an associate professor at Keio University School of Medicine, interested in revealing the functions of non-coding regions of the genome, especially non-coding RNAs and transposable elements. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies of computational biology with Professor Masaru Tomita at Keio University, Japan. Her Ph.D. research was mostly done at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics as a visiting Ph.D. student, performing combined experimental and computational analysis of microRNA function. She joined Professor Haruhiko Siomi’s group at Keio University School of Medicine as a postdoc and is currently an associate professor, performing research on the molecular mechanism of PIWI-piRNA regulation by using the wet and dry approach.
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