Mice deficient for a small cluster of Piwi-interacting RNAs implicate Piwi-interacting RNAs in transposon control.
The mammalian testis expresses a class of small noncoding RNAs that interact with mammalian PIWI proteins. In mice, the PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) partner with mammalian PIWI proteins, PIWIL1 and PIWIL2, also known as MIWI and MILI, to maintain transposon silencing in the germline genome. Here, we demonstrate that inactivation of Nct1/2, two noncoding RNAs encoding piRNAs, leads to derepression of LINE-1 (L1) but does not affect mouse viability, spermatogenesis, testicular gene expression, or fertility. These findings indicate that piRNAs from a cluster on chromosome 2 are necessary to maintain transposon silencing.