Cloning and expression profiling of testis-expressed piRNA-like RNAs

Seungil Ro, Chanjae Park, Rui Song, Dan Nguyen, Jingling Jin, Kenton M. Sanders, John R. Mccarrey, Wei Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Using a novel small RNA cloning method, we identified 630 piRNA-like RNAs (pilRNAs) from the mouse testis, and 498 of them are novel. These pilRNA genes were mapped to all chromosomes as 71 clusters, and the majority of them (∼84%) are derived from intergenic, intronic, and exonic sequences. One of the structural characteristics for pilRNAs is that a single locus can encode numerous homologous pilRNAs with overlapping sequences. Hundreds or even thousands of pilRNAs from a single pilRNA gene cluster are all produced from a single long transcript. Expression profiling for 64 pilRNAs revealed that ∼14% of all the pilRNAs analyzed displayed a ubiquitous expression pattern, although the majority of (∼86%) pilRNAs were preferentially or exclusively expressed in meiotic and haploid male germ cells of the testis. Our semiquantitative analyses also suggest that the testis is the organ with the highest expression of pilRNAs both in number and in abundance. The large number, high abundance, unique genomic locations, and biogenesis all suggest that pilRNAs have important regulatory roles not only in spermatogenesis but also in other biological processes. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1693-1702
Number of pages10
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cloning
  • Germ cells
  • PIWI-interacting RNAs
  • Small noncoding RNAs
  • Spermatogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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