Document Detail

A single female-specific piRNA is the primary determiner of sex in the silkworm.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  24828047     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The silkworm Bombyx mori uses a WZ sex determination system that is analogous to the one found in birds and some reptiles. In this system, males have two Z sex chromosomes, whereas females have Z and W sex chromosomes. The silkworm W chromosome has a dominant role in female determination, suggesting the existence of a dominant feminizing gene in this chromosome. However, the W chromosome is almost fully occupied by transposable element sequences, and no functional protein-coding gene has been identified so far. Female-enriched PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are the only known transcripts that are produced from the sex-determining region of the W chromosome, but the function(s) of these piRNAs are unknown. Here we show that a W-chromosome-derived, female-specific piRNA is the feminizing factor of B. mori. This piRNA is produced from a piRNA precursor which we named Fem. Fem sequences were arranged in tandem in the sex-determining region of the W chromosome. Inhibition of Fem-derived piRNA-mediated signalling in female embryos led to the production of the male-specific splice variants of B. mori doublesex (Bmdsx), a gene which acts at the downstream end of the sex differentiation cascade. A target gene of Fem-derived piRNA was identified on the Z chromosome of B. mori. This gene, which we named Masc, encoded a CCCH-type zinc finger protein. We show that the silencing of Masc messenger RNA by Fem piRNA is required for the production of female-specific isoforms of Bmdsx in female embryos, and that Masc protein controls both dosage compensation and masculinization in male embryos. Our study characterizes a single small RNA that is responsible for primary sex determination in the WZ sex determination system.
Takashi Kiuchi; Hikaru Koga; Munetaka Kawamoto; Keisuke Shoji; Hiroki Sakai; Yuji Arai; Genki Ishihara; Shinpei Kawaoka; Sumio Sugano; Toru Shimada; Yutaka Suzuki; Masataka G Suzuki; Susumu Katsuma
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2014-05-14
Journal Detail:
Title:  Nature     Volume:  509     ISSN:  1476-4687     ISO Abbreviation:  Nature     Publication Date:  2014 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2014-05-29     Completed Date:  2014-07-07     Revised Date:  2014-08-29    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0410462     Medline TA:  Nature     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  633-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Data Bank Information
Bank Name/Acc. No.:
GENBANK/AB840787;  AB840788
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MeSH Terms
Alternative Splicing / genetics
Base Sequence
Bombyx / embryology,  genetics*
Dosage Compensation, Genetic
Molecular Sequence Data
RNA, Small Interfering / genetics*
Sex Characteristics*
Sex Chromosomes / genetics
Sex Determination Processes / genetics*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/RNA, Small Interfering
Comment In:
Nature. 2014 May 29;509(7502):570-1   [PMID:  24828037 ]
Genome Biol. 2014;15(6):118   [PMID:  25002081 ]

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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