Contrasting sex-and caste-dependent piRNA profiles in the transposon depleted haplodiploid honeybee Apis mellifera

Wang, Weiwen, Ashby, Regan, Ying, Hua, Maleszka, Ryszard, and Foret, Sylvain (2017) Contrasting sex-and caste-dependent piRNA profiles in the transposon depleted haplodiploid honeybee Apis mellifera. Genome Biology and Evolution, 9 (5). pp. 1341-1356.

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Abstract

Protecting genome integrity against transposable elements is achieved by intricate molecular mechanisms involving PIWI proteins, their associated small RNAs (piRNAs), and epigenetic modifiers such as DNA methylation. Eusocial bees, in particular the Western honeybee, Apis mellifera, have one of the lowest contents of transposable elements in the animal kingdom, and, unlike other animals with a functional DNA methylation system, appear not to methylate their transposons. This raises the question of whether the PIWI machinery has been retained in this species. Using comparative genomics, mass spectrometry, and expressional profiling, we present seminal evidence that the piRNAsystem is conserved in honeybees. We show that honey bee piRNAs contain a 2'-O-methylmodificationat the 3' end, andhave abias towards a 5' terminalU, which are signature features of their biogenesis. Both piRNA repertoire and expression levels are greater in reproductive individuals than in sterile workers. Haploid males, where the detrimental effects of transposons are dominant, have the greatest piRNA levels, but surprisingly, the highest expression of transposons. These results show that even in a transposon-depleted species, the piRNAsystem is required to guard the vulnerable haploid genome and reproductive castes against transposon-associated genomic instability. This also suggests that dosage plays an important role in the regulation of transposons and piRNAs expression in haplo-diploid systems.

Item ID: 50435
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: piRNA, PIWI proteins, transposons, honeybee, haplodiploid, mass spectrometry
ISSN: 1759-6653
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DECRA grant DE130101, ARC Discovery grant DP160103053
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 08:57
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0601 Biochemistry and Cell Biology > 060103 Cell Development, Proliferation and Death @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960804 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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