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Embryonic Stem Cells/Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Article first published online: 27 NOV 2012
Copyright © 2012 AlphaMed Press
Volume 30, Issue 12, pages 2603–2611, December 2012
How to Cite
Bamezai, S., Rawat, V. P.S. and Buske, C. (2012), Concise Review: The Piwi-piRNA Axis: Pivotal Beyond Transposon Silencing. STEM CELLS, 30: 2603–2611. doi: 10.1002/stem.1237
Author contributions: S.B., V.P.S.R., and C. B.: manuscript writing.
Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.
First published online in STEM CELLSEXPRESS September 19, 2012.
- Issue published online: 27 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 27 NOV 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 19 SEP 2012 03:30PM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 29 AUG 2012
- Manuscript Received: 27 JUN 2012
- DFG. Grant Number: BU 1177/4-1
- Piwi-interacting RNA;
- Stem cell;
Piwi proteins and their associated piRNAs are essential for preserving the self-renewal property of mammalian germ stem cells. Their highly conserved role in CpG island DNA methylation and chromatin modifications in germ stem cells has long been associated with transposon silencing but recent reports hint at protein coding regions being targets for Piwi-mediated epigenetic changes as well. Interestingly, the expression of PIWI family members is not restricted to the germline, and certain members have also been implicated in tumorigenesis in cases of adenocarcinomas, gliomas, and sarcomas. The following review discusses our knowledge of the function of Piwi proteins and piRNAs in suppressing transposable elements while maintaining the self-renewing population of germ stem cells. We also highlight the somatic function of Piwi as an epigenetic modifier. Furthermore, we summarize the recently uncovered involvement of Piwi proteins and piRNAs in various cancers. STEM CELLS 2012;30:2603–2611