Elective Affinities: A Tudor-Aubergine Tale of Germline Partnership

Genes Dev. 2010 Sep 15;24(18):1963-6. doi: 10.1101/gad.1977010.


In Drosophila melanogaster and many other metazoans, the specification of germ cells requires cytoplasmic inheritance of maternally synthesized RNA and protein determinants, which are assembled in electron-dense cytoplasmic structures known as germ or polar granules, found at the posterior end of the oocytes. Recent studies have shown that the formation of germ granules is dependent on the interaction of proteins containing tudor domains with the piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA)-binding Piwi proteins, and such interactions are dependent on symmetrically dimethylated arginines (sDMAs) of Piwi proteins. Tudor-Piwi interactions are crucial and are conserved in the germ cells of sexually reproducing animals, including mammals. In the September 1, 2010, issue of Genes & Development, Liu and colleagues (pp. 1876-1881) use a combination of genetics, biochemistry, and crystallography to uncover the molecular and structural details of how Tudor recognizes and binds the sDMAs of the Piwi protein Aubergine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Argonaute Proteins
  • Binding Sites
  • Drosophila Proteins / chemistry
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Germ Cells / growth & development
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Peptide Initiation Factors / chemistry
  • Peptide Initiation Factors / metabolism*
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex / metabolism


  • Argonaute Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Peptide Initiation Factors
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex
  • aub protein, Drosophila
  • piwi protein, Drosophila
  • tud protein, Drosophila