How selfish retrotransposons are silenced in Drosophila germline and somatic cells

FEBS Lett. 2008 Jul 23;582(17):2473-8. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2008.06.018. Epub 2008 Jun 20.


Transposable elements (TEs) are DNA elements found in the genomes of various organisms. TEs have been highly conserved during evolution, suggesting that they confer advantageous effects to their hosts. However, due to their ability to transpose into virtually any locus, TEs have the ability to generate deleterious mutations in the host genome. In response, a variety of different mechanisms have evolved to mitigate their activities. A main defense mechanism is RNA silencing, which is a gene silencing mechanism triggered by small RNAs. In this review, we address RNA silencing mechanisms that silence retrotransposons, a subset of TEs, and discuss how germline and somatic cells are equipped with different retrotransposon silencing mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Argonaute Proteins
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex / metabolism
  • Retroelements / genetics*
  • Species Specificity


  • AGO2 protein, Drosophila
  • Argonaute Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex
  • Retroelements
  • piwi protein, Drosophila