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MOV10L1 is necessary for protection of spermatocytes against retrotransposons by Piwi-interacting RNAs.

Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) comprise a broad class of small noncoding RNAs that function as an endogenous defense system against transposable elements. Here we show that the putative DExD-box helicase MOV10-like-1 (MOV10L1) is essential for silencing retrotransposons in the mouse male germline. Mov10l1 is specifically expressed in germ cells with increasing expression from gonocytes/type A spermatogonia to pachytene spermatocytes. Primary spermatocytes of Mov10l1(-/-) mice show activation of LTR and LINE-1 retrotransposons, followed by cell death, causing male infertility and a complete block of spermatogenesis at early prophase of meiosis I. Despite the early expression of Mov10l1, germline stem cell maintenance appears unaffected in Mov10l1(-/-) mice. MOV10L1 interacts with the Piwi proteins MILI and MIWI. MOV10L1 also interacts with heat shock 70-kDa protein 2 (HSPA2), a testis-enriched chaperone expressed in pachytene spermatocytes and also essential for male fertility. These studies reveal a crucial role of MOV10L1 in male fertility and piRNA-directed retrotransposon silencing in male germ cells and suggest that MOV10L1 functions as a key component of a safeguard mechanism for the genetic information in male germ cells of mammals.

Pubmed ID: 20547853


  • Frost RJ
  • Hamra FK
  • Richardson JA
  • Qi X
  • Bassel-Duby R
  • Olson EN


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Publication Data

June 29, 2010

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: R01 HD036022
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: R01 HD036022-09
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: R01 HD036022-10
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: R01 HD053889
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: R01 HD061575
  • Agency: NHLBI NIH HHS, Id: R01 HL093039

Mesh Terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Argonaute Proteins
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Primers
  • Fertility
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Male
  • Meiosis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Proteins
  • RNA Helicases
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Retroelements
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Spermatocytes
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis