Small RNA-mediated quiescence of transposable elements in animals

Dev Cell. 2010 Nov 16;19(5):687-97. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2010.10.011.


Transposable elements (TEs) are major components of the intergenic regions of the genome. However, TE transposition has the potential to threaten the reproductive fitness of the organism; therefore, organisms have evolved specialized molecular systems to sense and repress the expression of TEs to stop them from jumping to other genomic loci. Emerging evidence suggests that Argonaute proteins play a critical role in this process, in collaboration with two types of cellular small RNAs: PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) of the germline and endogenous small interfering RNAs (endo-siRNAs) of the soma, both of which are transcribed from TEs themselves.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors / genetics
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Genome
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism*
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex / classification
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex / genetics
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex / metabolism


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex