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. 2019 Jun 21;294(25):9873-9887.
doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.004445. Epub 2019 May 10.

Heat Shock Protein DNAJA1 Stabilizes PIWI Proteins to Support Regeneration and Homeostasis of Planarian Schmidtea mediterranea

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Free PMC article

Heat Shock Protein DNAJA1 Stabilizes PIWI Proteins to Support Regeneration and Homeostasis of Planarian Schmidtea mediterranea

Chen Wang et al. J Biol Chem. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

PIWI proteins are key regulators of germline and somatic stem cells throughout different evolutionary lineages. However, how PIWI proteins themselves are regulated remains largely unknown. To identify candidate proteins that interact with PIWI proteins and regulate their stability, here we established a yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) assay in the planarian species Schmidtea mediterranea We show that DNAJA1, a heat shock protein 40 family member, interacts with the PIWI protein SMEDWI-2, as validated by the Y2H screen and co-immunoprecipitation assays. We found that DNAJA1 is enriched in planarian adult stem cells, the nervous system, and intestinal tissues. DNAJA1-knockdown abolished planarian regeneration and homeostasis, compromised stem cell maintenance and PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA) biogenesis, and deregulated SMEDWI-1/2 target genes. Mechanistically, we observed that DNAJA1 is required for the stability of SMEDWI-1 and SMEDWI-2 proteins. Furthermore, we noted that human DNAJA1 binds to Piwi-like RNA-mediated gene silencing 1 (PIWIL1) and is required for PIWIL1 stability in human gastric cancer cells. In summary, our results reveal not only an evolutionarily conserved functional link between PIWI and DNAJA1 that is essential for PIWI protein stability and piRNA biogenesis, but also an important role of DNAJA1 in the control of proteins involved in stem cell regulation.

Keywords: Argonaute; DNAJA1; PIWI proteins; PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA); chaperone; heat shock protein (HSP); heat shock protein 40 (Hsp40); neoblast; planarian; regeneration; stem cells.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with the contents of this article

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