Tudor domain containing 12 (TDRD12) is essential for secondary PIWI interacting RNA biogenesis in mice

Radha Raman Pandey, Yoshimi Tokuzawa, Zhaolin Yang, Eri Hayashi, Tomoko Ichisaka, Shimpei Kajita, Yuka Asano, Tetsuo Kunieda, Ravi Sachidanandam, Shinichiro Chuma, Shinya Yamanaka, Ramesh S. Pillai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are gonad-specific small RNAs that provide defense against transposable genetic elements called transposons. Our knowledge of piRNA biogenesis is sketchy, partly due to an incomplete inventory of the factors involved. Here, we identify Tudor domain-containing 12 (TDRD12; also known as ECAT8) as a unique piRNA biogenesis factor in mice. TDRD12 is detected in complexes containing Piwi protein MILI (PIWIL2), its associated primary piRNAs, and TDRD1, all of which are already implicated in secondary piRNA biogenesis. Male mice carrying either a nonsense point mutation (reproductive mutant 23 or repro23 mice) or a targeted deletion in the Tdrd12 locus are infertile and derepress retrotransposons. We find that TDRD12 is dispensable for primary piRNA biogenesis but essential for production of secondary piRNAs that enter Piwi protein MIWI2 (PIWIL4). Cell-culture studies with the insect ortholog of TDRD12 suggest a role for the multidomain protein in mediating complex formation with other participants during secondary piRNA biogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16492-16497
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - Oct 8 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA methylation
  • Helicase
  • Spermatogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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