Nuage condensates: accelerators or circuit breakers for sRNA silencing pathways?

RNA. 2022 Jan;28(1):58-66. doi: 10.1261/rna.079003.121. Epub 2021 Nov 12.


Nuage are RNA-rich condensates that assemble around the nuclei of developing germ cells. Many proteins required for the biogenesis and function of silencing small RNAs (sRNAs) enrich in nuage, and it is often assumed that nuage is the cellular site where sRNAs are synthesized and encounter target transcripts for silencing. Using C. elegans as a model, we examine the complex multicondensate architecture of nuage and review evidence for compartmentalization of silencing pathways. We consider the possibility that nuage condensates balance the activity of competing sRNA pathways and serve to limit, rather than enhance, sRNA amplification to protect transcripts from dangerous runaway silencing.

Keywords: Argonaute; RNAi; condensate; nuage; piRNAs; small RNA; small RNA amplification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Argonaute Proteins / chemistry
  • Argonaute Proteins / metabolism
  • Biomolecular Condensates / chemistry*
  • Biomolecular Condensates / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / chemistry*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / chemistry*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Germ Cell Ribonucleoprotein Granules / metabolism
  • Germ Cell Ribonucleoprotein Granules / ultrastructure
  • Germ Cells / metabolism
  • Germ Cells / ultrastructure
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Helminth / chemistry*
  • RNA, Helminth / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / chemistry*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism


  • Argonaute Proteins
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • RNA, Helminth
  • RNA, Small Interfering