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Transposon-Silencing RNA Takes Alternate Route from Nucleus to Kill Zone

August 12, 2019 / Daniel Reumann

To exit the nucleus, ordinary RNA cargo must submit to rigorous quality control procedures. Transposon-silencing RNA, however, avoids all that. In fact, transposon-silencing RNA-PIWI-interacting RNA piRNA takes an entirely different route, one that bypasses the usual gatekeepers. This route, newly discovered by scientists based at Aarhus University, Denmark and the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology Vienna, Austria, not only broadens our view of RNA export, it also enriches our knowledge of how genomic integrity is maintained. More generally, it gives us a glimpse of how cells sort and spatially distribute and organize genetic information. The alternate RNA transport route was described in a paper (“A Heterochromatin-Specific RNA Export Pathway Facilitates piRNA Production”) that appeared August 8 in the journal Cell. According to this paper, unprocessed piRNA precursor transcripts use a bypass strategy similar to that used by retroviruses. Retroviruses circumvent nuclear...