The Piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathway is a small RNA-based innate immune system that defends germ cell genomes against transposons. In Drosophila ovaries, the nuclear Piwi protein is required for transcriptional silencing of transposons, though the precise mechanisms by which this occurs are unknown. Here we show that the CG9754 protein is a component of Piwi complexes that functions downstream of Piwi and its binding partner, Asterix, in transcriptional silencing. Enforced tethering of CG9754 to nascent messenger RNA transcripts causes cotranscriptional silencing of the source locus and the deposition of repressive chromatin marks. We have named CG9754 "Panoramix," and we propose that this protein could act as an adaptor, scaffolding interactions between the piRNA pathway and the general silencing machinery that it recruits to enforce transcriptional repression.
Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.