Mutations in the MOV10L1 ATP Hydrolysis Motif Cause piRNA Biogenesis Failure and Male Sterility in Mice1

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Abstract

Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are a class of small noncoding RNAs. piRNAs protect the genome integrity of the germline by silencing active transposable elements and are essential for germ cell development. Most piRNA pathway proteins are evolutionarily conserved. MOV10L1, a testis-specific RNA helicase, binds to piRNA precursors and is a master regulator of piRNA biogenesis in mouse. Here we report that mutation of the MOV10L1 ATP hydrolysis site leads to depletion of piRNAs on Piwi proteins, de-repression of transposable elements, and conglomeration of piRNA pathway proteins into polar granules. The Mov10l1 mutant mice exhibit meiotic arrest and male sterility. Our results show that mutation of the MOV10L1 ATP hydrolysis site perturbs piRNA biogenesis.

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