A gene regulation network orchestrates processes ensuring the maintenance of cellular identity and genome integrity. Small RNAs generated by the RNAse III DICER have emerged as central players in this network. Moreover, deletion of Dicer in mice leads to early embryonic lethality. To better understand the underlying mechanisms leading to this phenotype, we generated Dicer-deficient mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). Their detailed characterization revealed an impaired differentiation potential, and incapacity to exit from the pluripotency state. We also observed a strong accumulation of LINE-1 (L1s) transcripts, which was translated at protein level and led to an increased L1s retrotransposition. Our findings reveal Dicer as a new essential player that sustains mESCs self-renewal and genome integrity by controlling L1s regulation.
Keywords: Dicer; LINE‐1 retrotransposition; mouse embryonic stem cells; transposable elements.