DNA methylation is a major silencing mechanism of transposable elements (TEs). Here we report that TEX15, a testis-specific protein, is required for TE silencing. TEX15 is expressed in embryonic germ cells and functions during genome-wide epigenetic reprogramming. The Tex15 mutant exhibits DNA hypomethylation in TEs at a level similar to Mili and Dnmt3c but not Miwi2 mutants. TEX15 is associated with MILI in testis. As loss of Tex15 causes TE desilencing with intact piRNA production, our results identify TEX15 as a new essential epigenetic regulator that may function as a nuclear effector of MILI to silence TEs by DNA methylation.
Keywords: DNA methylation; MILI; TEX15; epigenetics; spermatogenesis; transposable element.
© 2020 Yang et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.