Distinct and Collaborative Functions of Yb and Armitage in Transposon-Targeting piRNA Biogenesis

Cell Rep. 2019 May 7;27(6):1822-1835.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.04.029.


PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) repress transposons to maintain germline genome integrity. Previous studies showed that artificial tethering of Armitage (Armi) to reporter RNAs induced piRNA biogenesis. However, the lack of female sterile (1) Yb (Yb) in Drosophila ovarian somatic cells (OSCs) impaired the production of transposon-targeting piRNAs, even in the presence of Armi. Here, we show that the specific interaction of Armi with RNA transcripts of the flamenco piRNA cluster, the primary source of transposon-targeting piRNAs in OSCs, is strictly regulated by Yb. The lack of Yb allowed Armi to bind RNAs promiscuously, leading to the production of piRNAs unrelated to transposon silencing. The ATP hydrolysis-defective mutants of Armi failed to unwind RNAs and were retained on them, abolishing piRNA production. These findings shed light on distinct and collaborative requirements of Yb and Armi in transposon-targeting piRNA biogenesis. We also provide evidence supporting the direct involvement of Armi but not Yb in Zucchini-dependent piRNA phasing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Endoribonucleases / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Silencing
  • Hydrolysis
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Ovary / cytology
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA Helicases / metabolism*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism*
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • fs(1)Yb protein, Drosophila
  • RNA
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • armi protein, Drosophila
  • Endoribonucleases
  • Zuc protein, Drosophila
  • RNA Helicases